For bicycle commuters, the difference of a few seconds can mean making or missing an important meeting or, almost as bad, arriving to a depleted coffeemaker. The need to get to the final destination quickly can translate into severe discomfort in the summertime, at least for cyclists who would rather risk mind-scrambling heat stroke than be late.
A couple of Israeli inventors think they have a solution to biking hyperthermia, though. Kobi Rein and Arik Bar Erez are in the process of raising funds for a doodad called the Q-Fog, described on its Indiegogo page as the world's "first spray device for cyclists." Here's part of their pitch:
We all know that weather can be tricky and unpredictable. The urge to ride though, is very predictable. Passionate bikers just want to ride, even when it's hot outside. Sometimes however, it's just too hot, even for the most passionate, devoted and professional cyclists....
Cooling apparatuses for cyclers available in the market today, however, are not the most comfortable and efficient. They have to be carried or worn on our bodies and this can create discomfort while riding. Q-Fog is a new and innovative, field proven cooling water sprayer that addresses the cyclist's need for a minimalistic, comfortable and easy to use device. Q-Fog is also efficient and low on drinking water consumption.
The little fogger works on the same basic principle as those fake, water-spitting flowers found on clown lapels. A reservoir near the fork feeds a spray nozzle on the handlebars with water that's released in misty puffs anytime the rider clicks a button – with as few as three clicks "completely [moistening] the cyclist's torso," the inventors say. The wind rushing past the cyclist completes the job, evaporating the liquid to conjure a pleasant cooling effect.
With an empty weight of less than 3 ounces and more than 300 clicks per full reservoir, the Q-Fog has some things to recommend it. One potential problem I could see is the droplets of water landing right onto the biker's eyeballs – not the best thing to increase one's situational awareness. (And no doubt an unpleasant surprise to anybody borrowing your bike who's unaware of the Q-Fog.) There's also the question of whether cramming yet another device onto the handlebars next to the speedometer, light, bell, GPS and brakes is better than stopping for a minute to chill out or pour some water over your head.
At about $300 raised on Monday night toward a goal of $70,000, it's questionable if the Q-Fog will make it to market. Here's an illustration of how the handlebars support the reservoir, which conceivably could be filled with Gatorade to make tasty, if wasp-attracting, clouds of aerosolized hydration: