On Sunday afternoon I received a Tweet from Schwinn Bicycles asking me to visit them at CES. I thought for a second, what in the world could Schwinn be showing off at CES? A new electric bike? An app? Something even cooler?
Well we definitely got to see something cool as Schwinn was showing off their brand new CycleNav GPS appcessory for bikes. CycleNav puts the power of GPS on the handlebars of a bike complete with audio instructions and visual directions via directional lights that tell the rider whether to go straight, turn left or turn right.
The handlebar unit links to the riders smartphone via Bluetooth where it works hand in hand with the CycleNav app available soon in the app store.
CycleNav works like a GPS app for your car and an activity tracker as well.
Using the app, you start by entering your destination address. From there, using the Maps.com API, the app goes to work finding you not one but three different routes. Call it the commuter route, the trail route and the hardcore biker route. But really the app is finding the road route, routes with bike paths and trails and then the quickest route, which could involve a mashup of roadways, bike lanes and bike trails.
Schwinn has put just as much into the hardware as they have to the app. The app isn’t just serving up driving directions and calling them bike directions, the app pulls the best directions for a cyclist.
On the activity tracker side the app tells you how many miles you will ride, and how long it should take before you set off on your journey. After your journey it reconciles the data and saves it for you. You can then share it using the community of app users or on your traditional social media channels. This way cyclists can challenge each other or just post their bicycle riding accomplishments.
The CycleNav app will be available in the iTunes app store and the Google Play store by January 15th. The device will be available in Walmart stores in the Spring of 2014 for $59.99