I’m always amazed at the ingenuity shown by so-called “garage inventors” when it comes to bicycles. It seems that more people than ever are using their talents to develop useful components for bicycles.
Nowhere is that more true than with bicycle lighting systems. Here are a few that I’ve stumbled across lately.
One is Revolights, which gives bicycles a Tron-like appearance when seen from the side at night. While headlamps and taillights alert motorists to you from ahead and behind, those lights often don’t make you visible from the sides.
Revolights use LEDs attached at intervals to the bicycle wheel. Sensors detect the bike speed and blink the lights at a certain rate to create the appearance of a light bar on your wheels.
The San Francisco-based founders — Kent Frankovich and Adam Pettler — translated this idea into a business with the help of a kickstarter.com campaign that raised more than $215,000. Now, they’re selling the kit for $250 each.
Another fun lighting system that makes your bike more visible from the side is Monkey Lights. These LED lights attach to your wheel and display different light patterns as your wheels spin.
Two different styles — the M210 and M232 — are available through Amazon.
A third light system — the Video Pro Wheel Screen — actually displays images on a spinning wheel. This isn’t sold directly to consumers, however, but can be ordered in lots of 10.
The lighting system was developed a few years ago by Dan Goldwater, a Bay Area electrical engineer and bicycle enthusiast. He also co-founded the do-it-yourself website Instructables.com as well as other projects.
Another light system — the Bike Zone — displays a laser light onto the pavement about 3 feet on both sides of the bicycle. If you want to signal a turn, the Bike Zone indicates a left or right turn by shining animated symbols that look like arrows on the ground.
Designed by Frank Guo, Hung Wang, and Sturt Morrow, the design won bronze at the Lite-On Awards competition sponsored by Taiwan’s Lite-On Technology Corp. Unfortunately, it is not commercially available at this time. See more information at inhabit.com.