My wife’s big on biking. Me — not so much. But I know for sure that riding a bike in LA is a whole lot different than that of NYC where I used to hail from. Back East, bikers get  more than a fair shake against the tons of steel that cars possess: here in LA, if you’re not in a car, you’re not human. And as we all know, the walking dead never end up good.

So besides protecting yourself with a helmet and body pads when you ride, better attach the ECOXPOWER too. Because it’ll do a few things that anyone in the digital age — make that carrying a smartphone for its music, GPS and other myriad capabilities — needs. Plus it makes you more visible to that nemesis, the car.

Let’s start with that. After you’ve spent all of 10 minutes — more if you’re feeling clumsy — attaching the lithium-ion battery module to the front wheel hub so that “pedal” power can handle making the juice, you’ll spend another few running the wire from the red rear tailgate to the back wheel and fixing it in position. Okay, that’s all good but so what? The “so what” is that the final thing to attach is a waterproof/shockproof case to the center of the handlebars. And then an On/Off switch (wired already) to either the left or right handlebar, depending on whether you’re a lefty or righty.

Now it’s obvious that you’ll put your smartphone or media player or iPod in the case. And since the front of the case is covered but see-through, it’s good that it lets you access the touch screen through it. But still, why all the bother to do this just to carry a phone on the handlebars?

Because the wires going into the case terminate in a USB plug that you can connect to the phone. And when you’re riding and spinning the wheels, the flywheel power being generated translates into electricity flowing through the USB. So you’re not only working your leg muscles (among others), but doing a recharge as well.

So where does that handlebar switch come in? When it’s dark, flip the switch to turn on the LED flashlight on the module that now provides frontal illumination (as in 100 lumens). Complimented by the red rear tailgate. And no worries about a bulb burning out since it’s LED, or the juice cutting out since it’s being recharged by your pumping the pedals.

The ECOXPOWER is pretty universal since it works with pretty much any bike that  comes its way — even those “collapsable” types like the one my wife rides. And better still, the front and rear lights provides some assurance that the only thing coming at the bike will be the road below, not a car driven by some moron.

ECOXPOWER/$99

http://www.ecoxgear.com