Something useful for commuters: A bicycle barometer

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So many of the new products for bicycling seem like the same old thing updated — new styles of clothes, new styles of panniers, new styles of helmets, new styles of rain wear …

But this commuter in London has created something that I think could be truly useful —  a bicycle barometer.

Essentially, Richard Pope developed a device that tells him whether its a better day to use his bicycle or the subway to get to work.

Pope says the gizmo takes data about the weather service and the status of the subway lines, such as congestion and whether his station is open. It reduces that information to a value that a microcontroller displays on the clock face by having the dial point toward the bicycle or the symbol for “the tube.” (He calls the microcontroller a Nanode, which research tells me is similar to an Arduino — two things I know nothing about.)

He explains that the data comes from the Met Office’s Datapoint API and Transport for London’s line status and station status APIs.

Pope is a project manager for the official United Kingdom government website, He says he’ll make the code available once he’s cleaned it up a bit.

Follow @richardjpope on Twitter for updates.

Right here in the Seattle area, I’m thinking that same data should be available. The National Weather Service can tell us the temperature and rain forecast, Metro Transit and Sound Transit can tell us whether buses are on-time or running late, and Washington Department of Transportation can tell us the how the highways are doing.

True, a commute is a very individual thing. Not everyone takes the same buses or highways. Some kind of sign-in process would be necessary to download the correct information for each individual.

Of course, there are people who commute by bicycle regardless of the weather. For them, the face of the bicycle barometer could show whether to wear rain gear and booties,  a light jacket, or T-shirt.

If any tech-savvy bike commuters want to start this project and list it on, please let me know. I’d definitely be a backer.

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