Bike-wise Kickstarter Kicks (By Matthew Deboysere)

Apr 07

Biweekly I go through Kickstarter and try to find some interesting projects that you just must back. I have backed 21 projects since February 2011. My strategy is simple: I just cruise through the pages until I find something I like. Sometimes I search for keywords. Earlier this week for example I tried “bike”. I am someone who never takes a bus and doesn’t have his driver’s license, so whenever I need to be somewhere, I go by bike. And I like to pimp my modern stallion with all these exclusive gadgets I find on Kickstarter.


After the “Better Bicycle Bell, made in the USA”, which I received two months ago and is really loud – although nobody cares, stupid tourists – I ordered the Zondo Firefly Bag. I ride my bike during nights a lot and sometimes I just don’t feel safe. During the weekend there are a lot of drunk people behind their steering wheel and I tend to ride near the beach because cars aren’t allowed there. But with the Zondo, I have a compact and really cool looking backpack which you can use for casual riding or for professional use. It has a pocket which can hold your bladder bag in case you need to take a pee on your bike – no thanks – and it has a switch that lights up a strip on the front side of the bag.


The Zondo will be made in the United Kingdom and only costs you 40 GBP if you want it in any colour you like. If you want the basic blue one, then they ask you to pledge 30 GBP, which is actually a great bargain. The problem is that they just reached the 50 percent mark, and they only have 18 days to go. It’s not a product that a lot of people need, because mostly bicycle lights should suffice, but if you want to feel more safe – and need a new cool rucksack, then this is something to go for. 

Another interesting bicycle project on Kickstarter is the Fietsklik line of transportation accessories. The Dutch people of Fietsklik have invented The Click that goes over your bicycle rack. It needs some basic mounting, but once you’ve found the right spot you can click some awesome accessories on it. As a miniature wargaming enthusiast, I have a large backpack with all my figurines ready to go, but I also have a big crate with other stuff that I usually need. So I am particularly looking forward to the Crate. You slide it on the Click, push it locked and turn the key to secure it. It can hold all your groceries and even a big crate of beer! They have tested it for several years and it looks really legit – although we will never forget we are paying to support an idea, not to buy a product. Sometimes they fail. But I feel confident about this one.

The people at Fietsklik also want to launch three types of bags that you can attach to the Click easily. The Click allows you to attach three accessories at the same time – two bags and the Crate – but also is looking into a child seat. They have finished the prototype and are looking into getting it checked and certified. You can pledge to get one, but you will receive the seat only at least in April 2015. All the other accessories will launch in July 2014.


If you pledge 99 USD, you will receive the Click and the Crate, which is an awesome deal. The crate also can be folded up to be more compact and has an extendable handle and wheels. Ideally you will shop with your Crate and mount it quickly on the back of your bike. Cool! Need more space? It will cost you 149 USD but you will receive the Click and two accessories of your choice. That can be two crates, or two bags, or one of each. And for 199 USD you will receive the Click and the Crate, and can choose two bags. If you’re quick, there are still some early birds available. Fietsklik has already surpassed their target. They are at 150 percent right now. It’s a solid investment if you need easy transporting on your bicycle and hate tying several bags on your steering wheel.


 Matthew Deboysere is a video game journalist for several Belgian media. Is the co-founder of G.Mag, a free digital gaming magazine, but left for a new adventure. Previously wrote for GUNK and 9lives. Loves video games with a great story that reduces him to tears. And cat videos.

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The absence of technology.

Sep 27

It seems a long time ago. Somehow it IS like another world , another time. And yet, only twelve years have passed. A book review is what started it all off. My girlfriend at the time had to do a book review for school and asked me if I (since i liked to read a lot) would want to do it for her. I agreed of course and pretty soon the book “ Summer seventeen “ was on my night-stand. A book about a seventeen year old boy who bought a bike and went on a solo trip to Santiago de Compostella in Portugal. The story intrigued my .. enchanted me .. enchanted me. As the writer described the rolling hills of Belgium, the golden plain of the French massive and of course the spectacular alps. All by himself the boy cycled through an amazing adventure that was not about the destination .. but about the journey itself.

blanc nezWhen I closed the book I remember looking up and saying to myself … This is something I have to do ! Three weeks later I had a holiday coming up and just like that I decided .. I was going to embark on my own journey. True enough Santiago the Compostella was a bit far but a look at the map offered me a very interesting alternative. The coastline in the north of France offered me an interesting route from a possible starting point in the Belgian harbor town of Ostend, all the way down to the French Le Havre, just above the normandic coast. It was may 1995 and the world was mine to explore. So three weeks later I was packed. Borrowing my brothers mountain bike, packed with saddlebags full of clothes and even a tent for emergencies I was of towards the big adventure. Me .. my bike .. and the unknown.

And it where different times. The only peace of technology I had packed into my gear was a walkman and a collection of mixed tapes to form the soundtrack of my adventure. No cellphones, No email, No gps .. Nothing.. Only me… the static hiss of analogue tapes .. music and the great unknown.  

And that great unknown came to surprise me everyday , It was in the eyes of every stranger, waiting behind every rolling hill, dancing in the shadows of the morning sun. I remember the second day of my journey that took me from Calais to Boulogne, a 85 km trip along two of the most magnificent cliffs of “la Cote Opale”.  “ Vous allez a Boulogne ? “ the old man said when I asked him for directions how to leave the city centre of Calais. “Qui” I replied. “ Sa monte et Sa decent” he chuckled indicating that flat terrain was not going to me on the menu today. As he pointed his crooked finger at the red line on my map indicating “la route de la cote” the first drops of  rain drizzled down on the transparent plastic. Half an hour later I had crossed the adjacent town of Sangatte and was faced with a monstrous climb up “ La cape the blanc nez”. As the mist had rolled in from the atlantic the sight was absolutely intimidating. As far as the eye could see there was only the rolling meadows, desolate and deserted, huddled under the cold and wet blanket of the morning fog. Ahead the asphalt road twisted like a slick anaconda into the horizon. Writhing and twisting up and down and left and right in its blackened wetness. At the summit of the enormous mount stood the statue mounted at the top of Cap the Blanc nez. A gigantic black marble speer pointing into the gray abyss of  clouds and fog. Defining the very desolate and lonely feeling that crept through my bones.  I dug my head into the ground and started pumping the pedals to face this desolate landscape .. alone.

ikkeAn hour later a speck of blue was to be seen pushing its way up the deserted road , mounting the desolate cliff .. Surrounded by fog and rain. An infinite speck in natures impressive painting. My blue rain-gear had perhaps protected my from the brunt of the rain.. Whatever motivation I had left had been washed out by the pouring rain , or had been blown to shreds by the gail winds of the invisible sea.  I stopped. Almost at the summit of the cliff and parked my bike against a shrub. Shoes soaked, feed whet and cold and feeling thirsty yet drenched at the same time.. it was time to take five. I turned around to face distance I had covered and sat down on a rock because I was just about ready to give up. What had I gotten myself into. I was a good 450 kilometers from home. Amid of nowhere, unprepared for what i was facing ( I might as-well have brought a wet-suit to keep me dry) .. feeling cold .. hungry .. soaked and .. miserable. But then the beauty of it all struck me. I was there .. a mer human in a landscape that was devoid of another soul for hours to go. No cars .. no humans .. nothing.. Just the immense landscape.. the fog , the rain , the wind .. and me. And in all its desolate perversion the landscape enchanted me. Letting me feel that it meant to feel small. Sitting there with no means of communication.. No transportation except my trusty bike. An  action radius of a 100 kilometers a day .. Totally vulnerable.. isolated and .. absolutely loving it. I sensed the magic of being alive. The sensation of how ones sense of distance expands when technological means of mobility are no longer there. How ones hearing sharpens to detect the sonnet of the faintest seagull on the invisible horizon when there is no Ipod to give you tunes. How one feels in tune with the immediate world around one when modern means of communication are no longer there. At that very moment I felt in awe for the world around me .. and had found an inner peace that has been absent ever since. The raging pulse of the world today … The digital roller-coaster we ride .. the very edge of real and cyberspace .. was nowhere to be seen.  I was completely alone.. experiencing the infinite analogue experience of .. being alive on planet earth.

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