Leaving your bike unattended in public, even with a heavy lock, has always been a tenuous affair. If you’ve previously lost out to a determined thief, you know having a bike stolen can break your heart.
The Skylock by Velo Labs offers an unprecedented level of security by communicating with your smartphone if anyone tampers with it.
The Skylock operates over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in conjunction with either an iOS or Android smartphone app. This U-lock with extraordinary features can be locked and unlocked by your phone’s proximity, a button on the app, or a key code on the lock itself.
If a thief tries to steal your bike, a built-in accelerometer senses the vibration and motion of tampering and sends you a message to check on the bike, which you hopefully will receive in time to chase the jerk away.
The only drawback we see is that the lock needs a wifi or cell connection to communicate its message to the owner. This is easy in cities but a lot tougher in the country.
The lock adds one more great feature, using the accelerometer as a crash sensor. In the event of a crash, it communicates with your phone via bluetooth to check if you’re OK. If you don’t respond to prompts on your phone, the app will automatically dial for help.
The lock battery charges with a built-in solar panel, so no plug-in is needed.
Velo Labs are fundraising via the Skylock website and offering a discounted price of $159 to backers, with additional discounts for referrals. The retail price is set at $249 and is scheduled to come to market early 2015.
For those enthusiasts whose bicycles are an extension of themselves the lock offers a level of peace of mind that we think justifies its price tag. —Geoff Harper