For many commuters, cycling is the most efficient way to travel. A bike’s running costs are negligible, it is fuelled by your breakfast, and it gives off absolutely no harmful emissions. But in an age when connectivity is deemed essential, the inability to top up your phone while you pedal seems a terrible waste of leg power. Spinetics, a two-person team from Miami, has spent the past couple of years designing a workaround. The result of their efforts is the CydeKick, a small electricity-generating gadget that can be added to any regular bike to provide USB power.

The main generator fits onto the axle of your bike, on the outside of the main frame, while the supplied magnetic disk affixes to the wheel. As this disk rotates past the generator, power is generated through electromagnetic induction. In essence, it is an advanced version of the basic magnet-and-copper-wire school experiment. To maximize efficiency, the design incorporates strong neodymium magnets, a “special arrangement of coils,” and the careful use of materials. Impressively, this does not add any friction to already insufferable hill climbs.

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From the generator, the current is converted from AC to DC power and fed up a wire to the handlebars. The cable attaches to a small LED headlight, which provides constant or flashing illumination. The Pro version of the CydeKick also has a battery for storing excess power, and a USB port on the underside of the headlight for charging devices. When combined with a suitable handlebar mount, this means you can easily get GPS directions or film your ride without wasting battery.

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The CydeKick Mini (without a battery or USB) is currently available to backers for $150 and it is due to ship next July. The Pro version is $275, and will be delivered a couple of months later.

Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he’s pretty handy with a camera, and he’s a self-confessed tweetaholic.