May 07, 2004

Wi-Fi Cycling

I struggled with this for a category. Geek? Cycling? Geek cycling.

A dude in New York put an iBook and antennas on his ride. This takes "cycling computer" to a whole new level.
Yury Gitman, a self-described "wireless and emerging-media artist" in New York, has outfitted his bicycle with an iBook laptop and Wi-Fi antennas so that everywhere he goes, a cloud of free, high-speed wireless Internet access follows him.

"I'm interested in exploring the Internet physically, in motion," said Gitman, who calls his vehicle the Magicbike. "It's not on our radar screen, even though we're obsessed with mobility and wireless. But in the future, we're going to do that a lot."

Gitman's antennas tap open Wi-Fi networks whose signals are too weak for ordinary laptops to pick up. He essentially extends them through his Magicbike, and when those hot spots fade out, he relies on the cell phone network.

Demand for wireless Internet access in automobiles has been picking up, and plans are on the drawing board to offer it in airplanes.

Why a bicyclist would want Internet activity is a question Gitman called "a very fun proposition to think about." Navigation help and communication with other bicyclists--"bike-to-bike communication," in Magicbike parlance--are two possibilities, he said.
I don't want to be distracted while I'm driving, and I REALLY don't want to be distracted while I'm riding. And who needs extra weight on the bike?


Posted by hln at May 7, 2004 12:36 PM | Geek | TrackBack

In my pre-cycling days, the first time I heard the term "bicycle computer" the image I had in mind was a laptop strapped the the handlebars.

Posted by: Nic at May 7, 2004 05:05 PM

Imagine if your bike computer had full-time IP and GPS. Besides being able to keep an updated log on your home PC (or, say, here... "Heather is on her bike, and has ridden 32 miles today"), it could flash a little icon to tell you that a friend is also out riding, and is only 13 miles away. Maybe you could touch that icon and send your friend an alert that you'd like to meet at a nearby coffee shop.

Perhaps you could receive an alert that you are about 30 minutes from home, and a storm is expected in about 40. There are very few experiences in life that I can't imagine being somehow enriched by pervasive networking.

Now, why the computer wouldn't just do this by using bluetooth with the phone in your jersey pocket is another question altogether. But this guy isn't trying to prototype, he's trying to make us think about it.

Posted by: hans at May 7, 2004 09:45 PM

Hans, I like the way you think (Heather could look for me and say, "Look! Victor's only 1100 miles away!" :) )

But the first time I see someone JRA while looking at pr0n--I'm sticking my frame pump in his spokes.

Posted by: Victor at May 10, 2004 08:03 AM