My nephew Sam left his job at the prestigious automaker [Jaguar] to join a small startup in London called Beeline. All I can say about making such a seemingly risky move is that he must have really believed in the idea.
Developed as a navigation tool for urban cyclists in London, the super-simple device displays an arrow pointing to the direction of your destination. Think of it as a compass where the user gets to define what is ‘north’. This is especially useful in London because the maze of medieval streets and alleys don’t follow a grid and don’t always conform favorably to turn-by-turn GPS solutions.
Once I learned about the product I was immediately elated. No, I don’t live in a big city and drive to work every day in my car so what on earth would I do with one of these? Well it just so happens there is another place where traditional GPS isn’t helpful, and I’ve been lost there – more times than I care to admit! That place is the spiderweb of single-track mountain bike trails all over east Tennessee!
An arrow? a beautiful fluid, fantastic, liquid-crystal arrow? Pointing to where I parked my car at the trailhead? Simple! Perfect! Yes! Just what I needed! I have been out with it twice now and it has taken the anxiety out of my ride. No more staring at google maps seeing a dot in the middle of nowhere. No more maps trying to figure out where I am on it. Just an arrow pointing me back once I’ve had enough.
There is one caveat though – and it is right in the product’s name. I’ve found the arrow can point out into the lake or across a ravine (literally a beeline to your destination), making it tricky to figure out which way to go. The way around the problem is to set weigh-points when you stop for a break and a drink of water. Kind of like dropping breadcrumbs you can navigate from one to the next to get back. If you love to mountain bike, get yourself a beeline!