Hindsight is a cycling glasses brand with a unique safety twist. Alex Ballinger spoke with founder Alexander Macdonald and backer Callum Skinner to find out more
This piece first appeared in the April edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
There is no shortage of cycling safety innovations in the bike industry.
Whether its new smart lighting systems, crash detection technology, or ever-improved helmets, the safety market continues to evolve month by month.
But one recent addition to the collection of new pieces of safety kit, which has impressed me greatly, comes from Hindsight, a British cycling glasses brand.
Hindsight has just launched V2 of its product offering – rear-view glasses in two stylish designs that wouldn’t look out of place off the bike.
BikeBiz recently sat down with company founder Alexander Macdonald, and backer Callum Skinner (of Olympic track cycling fame), to hear more about the product.
“I was working in London and I was commuting by bike to clients everyday,” said Macdonald on the inspiration for Hindsight.
“I come from Edinburgh, which is relatively small compared with London, and moving from comparatively quiet streets to London traffic, where the driving is a bit more aggressive overall, changed the way I was interacting with the road.
“I felt uncomfortable on the road, which I think is true of a lot of people.
“The rationale was that I wanted to know what kind of vehicles were around me, so I could be as informed as everybody else on the road.
“Every other vehicle on the road not only has mirrors, but is required by law to have them. My logic was, why am I, a cyclist, the most vulnerable person on the road, a person who is taking their life into their own hands, why am I at the most risk?
“I’m the only person out there without seatbelts and airbags, I should at least know what’s coming.”
This realisation sparked Macdonald into investigating the existing rear-view mirror options for cyclists, most of which were awkward bolt-on products, and were at the very least unsightly. And so Hindsight was born.
The resulting products are stylish and subtle glasses, which feature mirrored edges, allowing riders to see behind them with a minimal turn of the head.
What makes the Hindsight glasses stand out from other safety innovations is not only the aesthetics, but also the technology – the glasses feature patented lenses, with semi-transparent mirror edges which do not inhibit the rider’s field of vision.
Often sceptical about the revolutionary claims of new safety advancements, I took a pair of the new Hindsight Artemis glasses out for a spin on my road bike.
After some initial adjustment getting used to not looking over my shoulder, I immediately saw the safety improvements provided when being able to see behind at a glance, particularly when changing lanes or making a turn with traffic behind.
The V2 Hindsight products, the Artemis and Morpheus models, officially launched in January, following a successful Kickstarter campaign that was 1,100% over-funded.
Both models retail for £199.99 and come in two colour options.
Hindsight said more product development is also underway for new designs.
The benefit of the Hindsight concept was also immediately apparent to Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner, a school friend of Macdonald.
Skinner said: “The very short version is we were friends at school, Alex went off to be a scientist, I went off to be a cyclist, and we’re putting those skill sets together.
“What I love about it is the simplicity. I’m not particularly mechanically minded, I don’t like faff, I don’t like charging: you put it on and it works.”
In the early days of Hindsight, Macdonald made up a prototype version using superglue and broken pieces of mirror, but Skinner said he was impressed even by the improvised mock-up.
Hindsight is now in discussion with distributors and retailers about future partnerships to bring the product to a wider cycling market.
Currently the products are available direct to consumers, and on the high street at Selfridges department store in London.
On the partnership with Selfridges, Macdonald said: “Selfridges has whole section for mobility and e-mobility.
“But they came to us and said ‘we think your product would be a great fit, and realistically every time we sell an e-bike or an e-scooter, we could sell your product.’
“It’s a great first step to take. It really shows you’re playing with the serious players.”
The future developments for Hindsight include ‘co-branding’, which is essentially a white label solution that will allow Hindsight to provide its designs and lenses to third party organisations.
Macdonald said that Hindsight has plenty of collaborations on the way, and that it is also looking to expand its applications beyond the cycling world, particularly into other performance sports.
“We do tend to punch above our weight in terms of what our technology is able to accomplish and the rooms we end up being in,” added Macdonald.
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“And I think that is purely a function of the technology – we’ve got something that is incredibly tangible, and incredibly effective at what it does, and that’s a powerful combination to have.”