When I was in Japan a few years ago, I rented a bicycle to travel around and immerse myself in a foreign land. I’m bad with directions, so rode with my phone in hand as I referred to my map app.
It was an exercise of my profound multitasking ability to balance and manoeuvre the bike, while following the map’s directions. Unsurprisingly, Murphy’s Law prevailed.
I dropped my phone several times, crashed into a wall, and almost got run over by a car. Just to be clear, wasn’t because of my recklessness. The map app was trying the darnedest to lead me into the river.
My travel experience would’ve been a lot more enjoyable if I knew about Beeline’s Velo series! I only found out about this brand after I saw their latest Kickstarter campaign for the Beeline Velo 2.
What is it?
Beeline’s Velo series is a line of navigation products for cyclists. They also have another line of products catering to motorcyclists. Velo products pairs with the Beeline app that’s available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app integrates with Strava to let you access and upload your routes
The Strave integration and Beeline’s Smart Routes feature that make route planning effortless for cyclists. You mount your puck-shaped Velo 2 device on your bicycle’s handlebar for you easy reference on the go.
Among the upgrades from the first Velo, what captivated me in the Beeline Velo 2 is the interactive feedback feature. With a press of a button, you can give a plus or minus rating on the routes you’ve travelled. This helps improve Beeline’s algorithm for route optimisation. The Smart Routes platform combines user data with road data to give the best route recommendations.
Sounds too complex? Well, all you need to know is that your ride experience (and that of other Velo users in your area) improves over time with this device.
If you’re in a supported city, the device offers route recommendations depending on your preference for the faster or quieter route, or something in the middle. Want an adventure? Simply turn off the route suggestions and enter compass mode. You get the indication of the general direction of your destination.
What problem does it solve?
Bicycles are popular because they are both eco-friendly and economically-friendly. The plus side? You get a good workout as well. Cycling lets you bypass traffic congestions and gives you the freedom of picking a shorter route to your destination.
However, cycling in traffic can be dangerous. It could also be just as dangerous even if you’re on the pavement. In the United States, the National Safety Council reported an increase of 37% preventable cycling deaths over a decade, with 1,089 cycling fatalities in 2019 alone.
While bicycle safety depends on many factors and cyclists shouldn’t rely on a gadget alone, Beeline Velo 2 helps cyclists to find a safe route to ride along and provides a simple way to follow the directions.
Who is it for?
Anyone who rides a bicycle daily should take a look at Beeline Velo 2. For complete noobs like me, the smart bicycle navigation makes getting to your destination a real breeze.
If you are a pro, you can up the difficulty by using compass mode. Don’t cycle? You might still want to consider it because Velo makes cycling far less daunting.
You can’t argue against greater convenience and safety, can you? I know I can’t.
Is it innovative?
Certainly! I absolutely love the features of the Beeline Velo 2 and its seamless connectivity with other applications on my mobile phone.
The product’s design is minimalistic but serves its purpose well. The navigation interface is also extremely user-friendly. They put a lot of thought into what cyclists would need in a display like this and made it as simple as possible for you to read at a glance.
Competing products try to cram too much information into their displays. You don’t need all that clutter for your daily commute or to run an errand.
Is it worth it?
For $109, I think it is a bang for the buck. The Velo 2 sits comfortably in the price bracket of its competitors.
What are the alternatives?
There are many bicycle navigation gadgets in the market. The simple yet classy user interface of Velo 2 gives it an edge over its counterparts. Coupled with the Smart Routes platform, it stands head and shoulders above the competitors.
In addition, I believe the touch screen function also makes it friendlier for cyclists to operate the device while riding. With all these consideration in mind, the winner is clear.
Beeline founders Mark Jenner and Tom Putnam are cyclists themselves and they created the products out of their passion for cycling. After their first successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015, they funded their second product the Beeline Moto for motorcyclists in 2018. Fast forward to 2021, they are back with the Velo 2.
It is great to see a success story return with an improved second product. The second generation Velo shows that the team didn’t rest its laurels but kept working to produce a product for bike lovers.
Hi, I’m Big Cat.
I’m a young lion that identifies as a bear. Not a brave lion. No cat jokes.