Spring is a time when bikers naturally come out of hibernation, but did you know that May is American Bike month? Whether you're a cycling fanatic or buying your first bike this year, there are plenty of activities for you to participate in. Check out the League of American Bicyclists website to see what is going on in your area. And if you need some assistance, consider the following apps and gadgets to keep you in good shape - all season long.
Plantronics M155 Marque Bluetooth Headset (*Est. $32)
When you're taking a bike ride, you don't want earbud cables getting in the way. Compatible with both iPhone and Android, the Plantronics M155 mono headset connects to your phone over Bluetooth. Whether you want to stream music, listen to GPS directions or simply answer an incoming call, you can now do so on the go. All you have to do is download the free "MyHeadset" app on iTunes or Google Play (Android's renamed Marketplace). To answer a call, simply say "Answer" and the headset will pick up for you. Thanks to the Vocalyst feature, you can even use your voice to manage emails, texts and update Facebook or Twitter. Now just make sure you keep your eyes (and ears) focused on the road, and pull over if need be. (Check local laws about headphones and bicycle use too.)The M155 is available in black or white.
Garmin Edge 500 Bike Computer (*Est. $250)
Performance-oriented cyclists will enjoy this comprehensive bike gadget from Garmin. Simply attach the device (it measures 1.9 inches by 2.7 inches by 0.9 inches) to your bike's stem or handlebars and using GPS, it will start to monitor the distance, speed, location and elevation at which you are biking. Those interested in losing weight will be glad to know that it tracks the number of calories burned, too. In addition, you can pair it with a compatible heart rate monitor and hook it up to your computer for even more detailed information on your rides.
To many bikers, riding without their smartphone is unthinkable. However, if you just stash it in your pocket, there's not only a chance that you'll drop it, but it may also get exposed to the elements. Now you can ride on different terrains without that risk. The scratch-resistant StormCruiser mounts onto your bike in no time and protects your iPhone from water, dust and grease. Whether you plan on using it as a phone, MP3 Player or GPS, your iPhone is safe.
Bike Doctor app ($4.99 for iPhone and Android)
If you're going on a long biking trip, or take rides daily, chances are that your bike will need repair and/or tuning up. The Bike Doctor app will teach you not only the basics of bike maintenance, but will give you details on repairing the different parts of your bike, too. Whether you need to remove a rear wheel or repair the bleeding hydraulics, the Bike Doctor will help you fix it fast, so you can keep on biking.
Bike Safety app ($0.99 for iPhone)
This app is ideal for those who still need to gain some confidence on their bike. Kids and any beginners will benefit from using the Bike Safety app, which offers basic safety tips. You'll find out about the right way to cross roads and how to interpret road signs. In addition, the app has advice on what kinds of clothes to wear when biking so that you'll be visible to cars and other potential dangers. The app works offline, so you can access it no matter the location.