Part of what I write about on here is not just cycling, but other things that relate to cycling and outdoor activity. I’ve previously shared some thoughts on integrated car racks, contemplating racks that have electronic locks wired to work off of a car’s door locks. Here are two more ideas, in that same vein.
1) Simple integrated toy locking.
On the rear of my car, I currently have a cable lock that is hooked to my car’s hitch. If manufacturers aren’t willing to do integrated electronic locking, how about something a bit simpler: mechanical locking. How about a strong hook in the cargo area of the vehicle, that I can hook a cable lock to…and then a little rubber port by the rear door that allows the cable to go outside the car. That way, if I lock to that cable (and lock the car), whatever I have is secured. And if I’m taking the rack off of the car, I don’t have to try to unhook cables and such from the hitch—I can just open the rear door, pop the cable off of the hook, and move on. Essentially, this is a lower-tech way of doing the integrated toy locking that I’ve been talking about.
A slightly higher tech version would be to have a solenoid controlled external latch on the car (a glorified door lock-controlled hook) that you could hook a cable lock to. When the doors are locked, the latch would lock as well (so you could hook a cable lock to it, and not need a separate lock). When the doors are unlocked, the latch would unlock. Simple, effective, handy. (This same concept could be used in truck beds, to provide locking latch points for cargo, ladders, etc.)
2) Integrated Keys.
Way back in the day, I had a Ford with an exterior keypad. You could lock your keys in the car, and use the keypad to get in and out. For outdoor activities, you didn’t need to keep keys on you. It was simple, effective, and for some reason, phased out. Maybe it’s a theft issue, or maybe something else. But now, I have a key that lets me get in and out of my car by just touching the door handle. I can start it by pressing a button, without inserting a key. Everything has been reduced to some form of RF chip that tells the car that it’s me, and I should be permitted to open, start and drive the car.
That RF chip comes in the form of something that looks suspiciously like a key. Sure—it has other functions…it has buttons to lock/unlock (if you don’t want to use the car door handles), a button for a panic alarm, and a button to open the rear hatch. But for 99% of my use, it sits in my pocket.
Why doesn’t anyone make a simple, standalone chip that I can attach to the back of my phone–or my watch–so I have 1 less thing to carry? I’d settle for the smallest possible chip that is totally waterproof and button-free, to minimize what I have to carry and to minimize the vulnerability of whatever is in my pocket. Tiny. Waterproof. Durable. Simple.
Call me an Orwellian subject, but my life would be simpler if all locks worked off of RFID. If I could program my car, on the fly, about who can and cannot unlock it…so when I do a bike race with friends, they can open the car if they get back to it before I can. Imagine…just hit “authorize”, have your friend hold up his RFID chip, and tell the car that he can lock/unlock, but not drive. Same for your house, your office, and so on down the line. Yeah—there’s the potential for abuse. There are ways of working around those issues…we’re just talking big picture here. For that matter, I look forward to the days when my phone can do everything. Go to Panera and order, swipe your phone to pay, and instead of getting a communal buzzer, your phone vibrates when your order is ready.
Just wishin’ out loud.