Mountain biking is high risk; of that there’s no doubt. But it’s damn fun! So in order to keep the fun coming, we have to manage the risks – ride on safer trails or with a group, attend skills clinic to improve your handling ability, fit tubeless tyres… And, just to be sure, carry a personal tracking device like the ST Bravo.
This smart device is a 24-hour GPS tracker that allows the Safe-T Solutions emergency control centre to see where you are at any time during your ride. But it’s not just a GPS chip that you carry around; it’s also a two-way communication device, which we really like.
There is a SOS button on the device that, when you push it, in case of a panic situation, it alerts the emergency control centre. They can see exactly where you are via the GPS tracker and can call you on the device. Yes, it’s also a cell phone – a very basic one. There are four speed dial buttons on the device, which allows you to call one of four pre-programmed numbers at any time. These are also ‘Please Call Me’ buttons if preferred. You can also receive calls at any time. What this does is allows you to ride without your expensive smart phone.
What’s also pretty nifty is that the device has a built in three-axis accelerometer, which allows motion detection. This can detect if you come to a sudden stop, which could indicate a crash and alerts the emergency control centre, which can then follow up with a call. If you do not answer they can activate EMS, as they will also know your exact location.
“We have access to every medical facility in South Africa, every police facility, traffic facility, security facility, mountain rescue organisation and the list goes on,” says Adrian Smit of Safe-T Solutions.
“The accelerometer sensor has different sensitivity settings that can be adjusted to suit and it can be activated and deactivated via SMS to the device. In fact, all configurations/settings can be changed by a simple SMS to the device,” added Smit.
The crazy thing is, we lost the first device on our very first ride with it! An over-the-bars crash must have seen the device fall out of our editor’s pocket. This was noted as a negative for the device. Many cycling jerseys do have a zippered pocket, which is the best place to carry it; and where we carried our replacement unit…
Safe-T Solutions say they considered attachment options for wrist or bicycle, but felt that having the device on your person is the best way to manage your safety (wrist-mounted can be seen and stolen in the case of an attack).
The device is small and light – a little larger than a matchbox and not much heavier – and has a robust hard plastic casing and is water-resistant. We inadvertently tested the ‘please call me’ buttons before ensuring we switched it to ‘key-lock’ mode (all other functions remain constant when on ‘key-lock’ though). As a mobile phone unit, the audio clarity is excellent.
It is rechargeable via a USB cable and has up to 190 hours of charge and a flashing light alert (and audio if you want) when the battery is running low and requires charging.
What does it cost? Well, you’re essentially paying for the 24-hour emergency response service. The device costs R1250 and a monthly service fee of R80 includes the sim card, activation, SMS for notifications, data for position reporting, ops centre backing and fall alerts. It is shipped to you with instructions and a link to the company’s software platform.
This Safe-T ST Bravo the only personal tracking device on the market, but it’s a damn good one. It works like it’s meant to and is reliable (we used it for four months and are still using it). It’s another sure way to manage your mountain biking risk.
SIZE: 75mm x 42.5 mm x 17.5 mm
BATTERY CHARGE: Up to 190 hours
PRICE: R1 250 (device); R80 per month (service)
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 30, 2014 – All rights reserved