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Modular Bike Umbrella Offers Affordable Lightweight Weather Protection

Even though cycling is the cleanest, greenest form of transport, as well as the cheapest, it’s not nearly as sexy to most people as the idea of owning an electric car is (which is probably worth an entire feature-length article on its own), perhaps in part because it requires a lot more effort, not only to get from one place to another, but also to commit to riding in all sorts of weather. Driving an enclosed vehicle, in comparison, is relatively simple, as there generally aren’t any issues with getting wet when it rains or snows, and the physical effort involved in driving is minimal.

Electric bike, or e-bike, technology has been taking great strides lately, which helps to eliminate one of the pain points of cycling, the sweat factor, and could really make a difference in getting more people on bikes, assuming the price continues to drop and the battery range continues to increase. However, riding an e-bike is still a full-contact activity, with riders exposed to the elements, whether it’s sunny or rainy, and addressing the issue of keeping cyclists drier during wet days could be one of the missing pieces of the cycling puzzle for reluctant bike commuters.

But a new “bicycle umbrella” might be just what the bike doctor ordered, as it promises to be a compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use cycling accessory that can keep (some) rain and snow off of cyclists, and could serve to allow more people to ride their two-wheelers even in inclement weather.

leafxpro-collage

The Leafxpro, which is currently seeking crowdfunding support, is essentially a windshield and fairing for a variety of different bike models (as long as the handlebars are between 48cm and 65cm wide), that can pop on and off the bike in about a minute (after the initial mounting hardware is installed). The system is modular, with an optional “Storm Accessory” adding rear and side panels to the Leafxpro for more weatherproofing, and a “Baby Accessory” that can add protection to a child in a rear carrier.

Leafxpro2
When not in use, the Leafxpro can be stored in its own carry bag, which can be strapped to the bike or rider to take with on the days when rainy weather threatens. According the maker, the Leafxpro is durable enough to withstand wind speeds “up to 50mph (80km/h)” without fear of it turning inside out (as a conventional umbrella might in high winds). And as a bonus feature, the addition of the Leafxpro to a bike gives the rider a little something extra, in the form of improved aerodynamics, which essentially allows the bike to cut through the wind easier.

What might make this bike accessory even sweeter is its price, as the basic model is being offered to early backers of the Indiegogo campaign at the $49 level (an estimated $100 value), or the basic model plus either the storm or baby accessory at the $89 level (MSRP of $150). The Leafxpro is expected to ship to backers sometime in October of 2016, assuming it hits its rather modest goal of raising at least $8500 during the campaign.

 
 
 
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Written By

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

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