Tech of the Week: big tech questions from the Tour answered and much more

The second week of the Tour de France answered two big questions and also included the launch of several new and innovative products

There were two big tech questions that we investigated as the Tour de France headed into the Pyrenees:

What is the black stick beneath the riders’ saddles at the Tour de France?

Black stick

The Fox by HiKoB has caused quite a stir

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Since the start of this year’s Tour de France everyone outside of the race has been asking what is the black stick beneath the riders’ saddles? As soon as the riders entered the mountains we got to see what it could do.

Thanks to the black stick and Dimension Data the commentators and viewers now know exactly where all the riders are on all of the major climbs.

What does Chris Froome’s ‘nose ring’ do?

Tour of Spain - Stage 13

Chris Froome was spotted wearing the Turbine nasal dilator during the opening stages of the Tour de France. Widening your nostrils to increase air flow through your nose is not a new idea, but despite this the reported benefits of the Turbine caused quite a stir. We carried out a review of the Turbine to test whether we agreed with the claimed benefits.

In addition to answering the big Tour questions, there were plenty of interesting new products launched last week.

Convert your smart phone into a GPS


Strava Live can convert your smart phone into a GPS cycling computer.

Strava launched the new Strava Live. By downloading the latest Strava app you can convert your smart phone into a cycling specific GPS.

Although unlikely to rival Garmin and other data heavy GPS providers, Strava Live may make those who just want to know their speed, pace, distance and time think twice about whether they need to buy a separate cycling GPS computer.

With the winter months not too far away, lights and safety devices are starting to be released. This week we saw a new safety helmet and we got to ride the new ‘smart’ light system from Garmin.

Lumos Helmet


The Lumos has integrated brake lights and turning signals (Photo: Dynamo PR)

The Lumos helmet was launched on the fundraising site Kickstarter. The helmet has integrated brake lights and turning signals.

What really makes this helmet stand out from similar products that are designed to increase drivers’ awareness is that the helmet looks good: it looks just like a normal helmet.

>>> Lumos helmet with brake lights and turn signals is launched

First ride with the Garmin Varia

Varia_HR_7000.1-copy-2-630x406Garmin have been releasing a lot of new products recently. However, taking a step away from their normal GPS focus is the new Varia system. The Varia includes a rear radar which is designed to detect when a car is approaching whilst simultaneously informing the rider and increasing the intensity of the rear light to hopefully get the driver’s attention.

Sport Line Show- Plenty of bikes

Ridley Bike Show

Ridley was one of several brands on show.

It wouldn’t be a “Tech of the Week” during July without a bike launch. The Sport Line Show ensured the bike quota was well-and-truly met. Many brands were represented including Genesis, Rapide, Ridley and Saracen. The take-away from the show was that adventure road bikes are becoming more popular. High level, an adventure road bike is a road bike that is just as at home on the road or a bridle path and gravel trail.

Tour de France bikes

With the Tour de France in full swing we also had a quick look at some the trusty steeds being ridden by the top pros, including Peter Kennaugh’s Pinarello Dogma F8.