Win a M232 in our Instagram contest!
(Congrats to Christy K! You are our winner!)
(Congrats to Christy K! You are our winner!)
Please tell us a little about yourself, where do you live and what do you do?
Riding in Paris on holiday
What is your bicycling background and how did you become interested in it?
That's funny your friends think riding a bike everywhere is a mark of granny-hood. We think riding a bike instead of driving is one step towards everlasting youth!
Mountain bike on a nice day
What is it like riding a bike where you live?
Club run cake stop
How did you hear about Monkeylectric?
Train station pick-up. Nice monkeylight!
Are there any links you would like us to share with our readers?
Olga lounging after an exhausting effort of watching all the people from her ride — she isn’t very athletic so despite our best efforts, she ends up needing a lift quite a lot! I think she likes the attention she gets from the passersby.
If you'd like to share your story, please send an email to chloe @ monkeylectric . com
Athul shared a useful set of bicycle maintenance tips.
Your bicycle doesn’t run on leg power alone. It also needs a little lube, a lotta love, and a good listen. You may not know every remedy your bike needs to live a long life, but you can gain enough wisdom along the way to keep it in tip-top shape and out of the shop.
He writes about his inspiration for the project:
Recently I moved from The Netherlands to Austria (No kangaroos). Since cycling is such a big part of my life I did not realise how fortunate the Dutch people actually are with there cycling infrastructure. It took me a while to get used to the Austrian infrastructure. Lets say its something else. But I was determined and kept using my bike for all kinds of transportations that are really strange for Austrians/non Dutch people. It did not take long to get the 'crazy Dutch guy with his bicycle' label. People around me are getting used to the fact that you can go to IKEA with your bicycle. 🙂 The bicycle culture is a bit 'hipster' and that's probably why someone pointed me to the Bicycle Picnic Box. She found it on Instagram and told me that it would fit me and my bike. At first I didn't think much of it but the idea stuck and after some research I came to the conclusion; I can make that! I found some Instructables but they did not fit all my needs. For example, I wanted to be removable without tools because I don't want it to take with me everyday. Then decided to make my own and first Instructable. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
This bike transforms from a tall bike to a chopper/low rider (and back) while you ride it! It is made with a full suspension mountain bike and a set of gas shocks. The spring on the mountain bike is removed to allow the bike to pivot, the fork and rear triangle of the bike are extended. The gas shocks are extended when the bike in the tall position and compressed in the chopper position.
Major props to second-prize-winner, Krivas, who used the laser cutter in their local library to make this high-visibility vest. (What an awesome local library it must be to have a laser cutter!)
My local library has a maker space with a really awesome laser cutter; I’ve been learning how to use it and have been experimenting with different materials. Last week I decided to try cutting fabric and this is what I ended up making; a stylish alternative to a traditional safety vest.
Instructables user henryric made a fantastic walk-through of how to make a cargo bike on the cheap, out of a Craigslist bike, a shopping cart, and spare parts. The detailed walk-through also comes with rare safety tips and a good dose of humor.
Build a cargo bike out of an old mountain bike, a metal shopping cart, miscellaneous bike parts, a variety of scrap metal, and a willingness to hack things apart!
I am currently living a car-free life and need a means of transporting supplies for those larger projects. Constructed at UPland.
Two entries that drew our admiration for ingenuity (and some laughter) were the Chainsaw Bike, submitted by ThriftStore Hacker, and the Shock Powered Pump, submitted by Mrathweg. If you put these together and connect an airgun to the pressure chamber, you'd have a one awesome zombie apocalypse cruiser!
Details about the inspiration for the chainsaw bike:
I have had a lot of feedback on my channel from people asking me to make a gas powered bike.
I found a good running chainsaw with a bent and broken bar at a garage sale for 20 dollars. I also was able to pick up a cheap mountain bike from a thrift store.
Thanks for taking a look at our favorite entries! We look forward to sponsoring our next contest with Instructables. In the meantime, check out our LED lights for your bicycle wheel. They will add a lot of color to your bike ride!
Many crashes do not get reported properly or thoroughly, if
reported at all. Most data reflects accidents where cyclist
fatality occurs. There is not a lot of info on the much more
common case of accidents resulting in mild to severe injuries.
Sometimes, different studies show conflicting data. And there
is no perfect science behind adjusting for variables.
For Example: Men appear to be victims more often, but is this
due to larger volume of male riders or does it say something
about the way they are riding?
Ken McLeod of the League of American Bicyclists co-authored a comprehensive report on cyclist collisions
after reviewing copious amounts of research and data collected on impact incidents for the Every Bicycle Counts report.
We asked him to lend his expertise and answer a few questions.
From your research and experience, why do most cyclist/motorist collisions happen?
The majority of collisions happen at intersections, but the majority of fatal collisions happen when a motorist hits a bicyclist from behind.
What are the best precautions a cyclist can take?
There are many different precautions that a bicyclist can take and the best precaution is the one that solves the most important safety issue for that bicyclist. Some of the best precautions can be:
How important is side lighting in preventing side crashes?
Side lighting can be an important part of preventing side crashes. In low light circumstances it is helpful for bicyclists to have conspicuous lighting and/or reflectivity. Often moving lights or reflectivity improve the visibility of a bicyclist (although research is mixed on flashing lights). The sooner a driver can see you the sooner the driver can react to you and prevent a crash.
Will lighting help in the day time?
Lighting can help in the day time. There is not a lot of research on the subject, but some research suggests that permanent lighting can reduce the incident of collisions by 19%
Does the time of day make a difference?
The time of day does make a difference. According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the third highest specified factor in bicyclist fatalities is that the bicyclist was not visible. While we do not know how many people are biking at a particular time of day, NHTSA data shows that roughly 28% of bicyclist fatalities occur between 6pm and 9pm.
What are some ways to raise motorist awareness on the road?
Bicyclists can take individual action to make motorists aware by using lights and bells. Bicyclists can also take collective action by becoming involved with local, state, and/or national advocacy so that infrastructure is improved in ways that make bicycling safer. Bicycle infrastructure, particularly bike lanes and protected bike lanes, creates awareness and clear expectations for all road users.
Is it important to record crash data?
It is important to record crash data. Bicyclists should report crashes to their local government to make local planners and engineers aware of dangerous conditions and make police aware of dangerous behavior.
The highest instance of cyclist fatality in a collision occurs when the cyclist is rear ended.
Cyclist side/car front makes up the second leading cause of fatality and the third is cited as a "T-hit." The differences between "cyclist side/car front" and "T-hit" are unclear but it is possible they could be grouped together.
Unfortunately, "unknown" collision type makes up nearly as many instances as the rear ended cyclist. This reflects the need for more thorough accident reporting.
One study indicates that a collision involving cyclist side/car front, while not being the number one cause of fatality, is the leading crash situation. It also appears that most situations involve the car hitting the cyclist or pedestrian with the front of the car.
6PM to 9PM is the window of time when most accidents occur. This is consistent in different studies.
"I have it on a fat bike that has experienced at least a few spills on rocky, wooded mountain bike trails...What impressed me the most about the durability of the lights was it's absolute waterproof abilities. I...submerged the bike up past the pedals. In some areas we had to drag the floating bikes through the water for quite a distance. After the ride... the lights are still working perfectly."
"It's lasted thru rain, snow mud, 5 degree to 100 degree weather and the buttons still work fine.Was very doubtful of the quality at first, but it has proven itself many times over."
"Secure and durable (dumped hard and its still just fine} Looks amazing, bright, doesn't seems to cause noticeable instability even when I'm going at 35+mph"
"Installation takes a few minutes of zip ties and clippers, and you're done."
"These lights are very cool! I bought 2 for my motorized bicycle. They work fantastic on it. They're extremely easy to install and also very simple to use. It took me about 10 minutes to install them on my bicycle. I'd suggest keeping the packaging for them to keep the list of patterns. A really great accessory for bicycles!"
"The 232 is vastly improved because it's easy to select one of the 42 themes by only pushing one button repeatedly."
"If you ride your bike at dusk or in the dark, it's important to make sure you can be seen. Here's a product that will help. Monkey Lights help you stand out in style by digitally displaying bright, colorful lights and designs with every turn of your wheels."
"I was commuting to work several mornings a week before dawn and even with two super bright headlights, flashing taillight and Illuminite reflective clothing I had close calls with drivers when standing at intersections because they just didn't notice me. Monkeylight seemed to make a difference. Even stopped it's like having a roman candle in your spokes."
"I purchased another lighting system for my granddaughters bike wheel before getting the Monkey Lights. The other system wasn't bad, but it didn't even come close to the effect you get with the full color and the fact that it show on BOTH sides of the wheel."
"They are so awesome and you get what you paid for, quality. They are definitely the best bike lights for their price and quality."
"Quality is better than I expected on the overall body and LED protection. Waterproof and shockproof as well. The LEDs are superb and very high quality."
"I bike about 60 miles a week, 30 of those using these lights (at night), and I only had to change my batteries once after about 3 months of use."
"The battery mounted to the hub is a great idea, since you can easily get rechargeable AA batteries and carry extra with you, no need to spend a fortune on some weird-sized watch battery!"
"The new 232's also moved the battery from the board on the spokes to the hub of your wheel. This help reduce weight balance issues and seems to make it easier to change the batteries... One battery pack can run two light units! This cuts down the weight in batteries, it does reduce the run time of course but since the batteries go into a quick load housing you can have the other set from your second light on hand to swap out and it takes just seconds to swap. I bought an extra set of rechargeables so that while I'm riding with one set, I can have another set charging at home!"
"Even if you are a total cruiser with one array on one wheel, these M232s are going to light you up and make people notice. With a double array you can go slower and still get full patterns... If you live in a place like Seattle (like I do) where the sun doesn't shine that often, you can probably get use out of them during the day."
"These are great. With so many neat designs, I change up the pattern every time I ride."
"The pattern selection is bigger than the originals and you can select certain groups (like the classic patterns or groups of new patterns) and you can pick out groups of colors to customize your ride. I like to change the colors to reflect holidays like orange and purple for Halloween or to have different colors for each wheel."
"With no argument or fuss they put in a warranty order and it's on its way to me. Fantastic customer service as well. Defective products can and will happen...the difference is in how the company deals with it and Monkeylectric gets an A+++!"
"THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER... Wow! Talk about a company that stands behind their product and goes the extra mile for their customer... I cannot speak highly enough of this fantastic product and company."
-Tina A. Pollio
"I managed to separate the wiring leading from my front light to the battery mount (some clumsiness when I took the front wheel off to mount the bike on my car). I checked with the company to see if I could send it back to be repaired, and they actually instead are replacing the broken part... I love the fact that not only is the product fun and a great tool for safe riding, but the customer service is also superb. I will certainly buy from MonkeyLectric again!"
"The Monkey Lights are such a fun addition to any bike. Watching the video online made the installation very easy. I have had one set one for over a year and just ordered a 2nd set.My first set is still on the bike just as securely as the day I installed it."
"Not to worry about [them getting] stolen: once they're on, they're ON. They're also pretty discreet when they're turned off."
"The metal security ties that were included actually appear stronger than I originally expected."
We wrote this little guide to help show you how to use our Monkey Light iOS app to transfer images to your Monkey Light Pro or POV360. On your iPhone, iPod or iPad, make sure that you have bluetooth enabled, and pair your device with your Monkey Light Pro or POV360. You may also want to check out our MonkeyLight Pro installation video.
We took a look at our M232 Monkey Light against other wheel-lighting options on the market. We wanted to see how they compare when lit up on a bicycle wheel. We mounted all lights on the exact same motorized wheel and photographed the results. We wanted to be as impartial as possible, so each light was photographed under the exact same conditions and camera settings:
We did some processing in Adobe Lightroom to correct exposure, since there was a lot of variation in the amount of light that each wheel light produced. We applied identical processing to each image, and then we turned those photos into an animated GIF. You can see a little bit of the tire in each image, in the upper right hand corner, and depending on the amount of light produced, you can see more of our test setup, and the wall behind it. We used 2 different spinning wheel displays, so if you pay close attention, you can see slight differences.
Overall, we were really surprised at how much brighter our M232 is. We see a ton of them every day, so maybe we have just gotten used to it. Our M232 is fully waterproof, emits 200 lumens of light. The M232 has 42 unique themes, 5 shuffle settings, hundreds of color combinations, and will run up to 20 hours on a single charge. With 32 full-color LEDs, it provides 360-degree visibility for your bike.
Hokey Spokes are unique bicycle safety lights that allow riders to display computer-generated images and text inside the spoke cages while riding at night. Not only are Hokey Spokes fun and interesting, but they also provide important side visibility, which is mostly unavailable in today's standard bicycle lights.
Mounting the Hokey Spokes was frustrating to me. I had to use a Philips head on a loose bolt/retainer nut while mounted on a wheel and I had to hold the light in place at the same time.
There are 16 LEDs total, but they are mounted to shine on both sides. Each LED is a single color, so while there are green, red, yellow and blue LEDs, there is no color mixing. This really limited the types of patterns that the light could generate. Also, The text was hard to read. You can program your own text, but you have to do this letter by letter, using one button to scroll through your choices. Letters are represented by a 5 LED code. You are also limited to 16 characters, including letters and spaces. You need to do the programming while looking back and forth between bright LEDs and the code key on the box. This would be best programmed in daylight because trying to read the instructions in the dark after you just looked directly at a bright LED is problematic.
One side of the light clips on to the spokes, while the other has a grooved plastic washer that slides along a track so that you can adjust it to your spokes. The grooves on the washer are meant to grip the spoke, but they also happen to fit perfectly onto the ridges surrounding the adjustment track. This was initially confusing because the ridges on the track seem to serve no purpose other than to hold the washer in place, but that puts the ridges on the washer perpendicular to the spoke. I feel like more than one person worked on this design and they weren't talking to each other. In any case, the Fantasma OWL Image Fun BK-2071 ended up being one of the easier lights to mount compared to some of the other non-Monkey Lights.
There is no way to change the patterns. The light just randomly moves through a pre-programmed playlist. I felt like each pattern should have been given more more play time because I could hardly tell what one was before the other started. It's full color but lacks vibrancy.
LED Bike Spoke Light - shows Riding Time 40 Light Patterns
This light mounts with two short metal bands that are held with two screws each. The battery compartment is sealed with 6 Phillips head screws. The plastic seems brittle, and I think the screws will strip out the holes in time.
The patterns were okay, but the light is single color and only one sided. If you mount the spoke light on the left side the lettering will be backwards. You can fix this by holding the power button. This will change the orientation. The light comes with a magnet that mounts to your fork or seatstay or chainstay. There is no way to orient the letters or patterns based on magnet location, so the words might be upside down depending on your magnet location.
Meon Wheel Writer Light-Up Bike FX Triple Pack includes all of the following:
Bike FX Wheel Writer
Pictures Magically appear in your bike wheel as you pedal. Mount the Wheel Writer directly to the spokes of almost any bike wheel (20" and up) and as the wheel spins, the super-bright computer-controlled LEDs flash on and off to create a dozen different images and patterns - including a real working speedometer.
Bike FX Light Striper
Pinstripe your bike or scooter with cool futuristic light. Includes 8 feet of bright blue electroluminescent wire allowing you to make radiant one-of-a-kind designs that stand out from the crowd. The Light Striper mounts to your handlebars or under your seat and include 10 clips and 20 elastic bands for easy installation. Can be used solo or combined, as solid light or in several blinking patterns.
Bike FX Gyro-Flasher
Vibant, multi-color rings of light appear on any standard bike wheel (18" and up). The Gyro Flasher mounts directly to a wheel spoke and two ultra-bright LEDs make unique patterns of spiraling light as you ride. They are the cool and colorful way to trick out any bike.
This product, the Meon Light-Up Bike FX, comes with two single sided wheel lights, and a light up electroluminescent wire.
One light just creates random, abstract multi-colored patterns with 2 LEDs. The other creates specific images in red and can also function as a speedometer.
The wheel lights come in three pieces. You screw the 2nd piece in while the light is in the wheel and then the third while holding the rest of the light in place. The light that creates specific patterns can be set to scroll through the patterns or you can choose your favorite. There is a way to set the orientation so that the images are right side up, but the light single sided, so if you mount on the wrong side, the letters and numbers will be backwards.
The Gyro-Flasher light only has 2 LEDs, so it's basically a bulkier, dimmer M204 made from hard brittle plastic. And you can't select the patterns.
The battery compartments on both require a Phillips head to open.
Bike FX Light Striper:
This isn't designed to be a wheel light, so I didn't mount it for this test.
Thanks for taking a look at our comparison! We hope that this has been helpful and informative for you.
This month’s bike party was a blast. See you at the next one.
Bay Area Maker Faire has come and gone, and here’s what we saw and liked. We set up camp in the dark room of the Fiesta hall, and set up our interactive Draw on the Wheel and Photobooth displays as well as demonstrations of our other lights. We all got a chance to take breaks to check out the rest of the show. Here are some of our photos and vines, as well as media from other sources. What a delightful event!
John’s favorite exhibit was the life-size mousetrap.
The world’s largest Mousetrap board game uses the tools of wonder and excitement to plant the seeds of curiosity with a 25 ton…Rube Goldberg machine !
The scale at which they’ve recreated the classic game is amazing.
“This was the one section of Maker Faire 2016 that made my jaw drop the most.” Flying a quadcopter looks hard, racing one seems so much more impressive. From FPV Racing’s website:
Pilots [flew] head-to-head through a custom racetrack straight out of the future – made with with lasers, special efx, interactive tricks and power-up’s, it’s […] racing like never seen before. Three full days of FPV racing action, including several special events, including a sponsored “GoPro” race and a brand new class – Outlaw Micro’s – sub 250 gram FPV racing drones!
The race track really did look like it was from the future. Amazing skill and a treat to watch.
With unsurpassed ease-of-use and incredible elements of flexibility and functionality, the Circuit Playground is the ultimate tool to learn and perfect electronic system design creating future hardware and software experts. With almost every type of electronic sensor (temperature, sound, light, motion), buttons, switches and 10 multi-color bright LEDs, the Circuit Playground truly is the Swiss Army Knife of electronic design.
The Circuit Playground is based off of the popular ATmega32u4 MCU so you can use the standard Arduino IDE to code and program the platform. It also has an extremely flexible powering scheme so you can use USB power, a AAA battery pack, or even a Lipoly battery. Another incredible feature is simplicity of expansion. Around the circular design you will find pads that are alligator clip friendly. There simply is no easier way to clip and design with additional circuitry.
It’s an easy way to work with embedded hardware at an affordable price. Very cool.
These giant soap bubbles were a huge hit with the kids. Brian Lawrence is the creator of this delightful exhibit:
See giant soap bubbles and bubbles of all kinds. Learn about the science behind the “magic” of soap bubbles. Make your own bubble wand. We use State-of-the-Art bubble wands and juices, made from stuff we find around. And it’s all open source.
Brian Lawrence is a world renown bubble artist. Brian is moderator of SoapBubbleFanciers on Yahoogroups, the premier online forum on soap bubbles.
This one was lots of fun as well. High fives at a bunch of different levels, with many being unnecessarily high.
The Unnecessarily High Five is the ultimate high-five experience! This interactive art piece encourages participants of all ages to try and give the highest five that they can. Built from wood, conduit and mannequin parts.
The Unnecessarily High Five was conceived one late summer night in a dusty garage by a group of irresponsible dads in Alameda: Jason, the designer; Tony, the builder; and Hans, the engineer.
Like Battlebots, but including the Z-direction. The drones are made to be bombproof, except for their propellers. They describe their combat as “fight club for quadcopters”. Check out the Game of Drones website.
One neat thing one of our staff saw during a visit to Sweden was a number of robotic lawnmowers. This weeding robot, made by Franklin Robotics, has a similar task. It rolls around until its sensor detects a weed, and then a string trimmer (weed eater? weed whacker?)
Ritual Coffee is a perennial favorite, with their Sputnik trailer. This year, they brought along the farmer of the coffee that they served!
They gave out a lot of ice cream. So much ice cream. How much? 22,000 cups the first day.
See through walls with the Walabot 3D sensor. Whoa. It’s a device that attaches to your Android phone, and communicates using the data port at the bottom. It’s pretty low-res, but the demo had some neat applications – determine the location and diameter of pipes behind drywall, or check up on your kid in the next room. You could “see” a hand through a wall, which is quite neat.
“Walabot instantly turns a smartphone into a powerful 3D-imaging system at your fingertips. Our
advanced technology lets people see all kinds of things hidden in the world around them, adding yet
another dimension to the way people use smart devices today,” said Raviv Melamed, CEO and cofounder,
Vayyar Imaging. “Walabot makes highly sophisticated imaging technology approachable,
affordable and usable for everyone. It can help the blind avoid obstacles, sense – and alert you – if your
mother or father has fallen in the shower, help your robot become autonomous, and much more. We
can’t wait to see what other kinds of applications makers and curious inventors around the world will
create for Walabot.”
Ok, we were a little surprised when Aaron came back from a break with a giant tub of concrete powder. But the applications of this moldable concrete are really neat. Instead of a sloppy goop, it holds up like clay, so that you can shape it into all types of really interesting forms. Like a succulent planter:
ShapeCrete™ mix is an easy-to-use, high performance, shape-able concrete that can be
rolled and molded, pushed and poured — into any shape imaginable.
Just add water and get clay-like concrete to create everything from garden objects and home decor to crafts and everyday repairs. It’s fun and versatile, like clay, yet becomes rock-hard and durable in about 24 hours without oven-baking or kiln-firing. Imagine that.
It’s pretty simple, just about anything you can imagine, you can make with ShapeCrete.
Play with ShapeCrete and you’re going to surprise yourself…every time.
Silly vehicles racing around a figure 8 made of hay bales: very awesome to watch. All by Fun Bike Unicorn Club.
Fun Bike Unicorn Club (FBUC) was formed in 2010 as a loose collective of whimsical builders, inventors, artists and rabble-rousers who happen to love bikes and unicorns!
We are a sophisticated group of driven individuals with plenty of tools and a sense of adventure who enjoy a crowd of fun people to play with.
Project J-Deite is a REAL TRANSFORMER ROBOT. I don’t even know what else to say about it. Absolutely amazing to see this.
Ever need a card of a solar-powered crocodile on the moon? A giant jello cake in a national park? Unusual Cards – they’ve got you covered.
Flipbookit had a bunch of demos of their flip books. You send them a 24-frame file, and they send you a kit so that you can put together your very own flipbook. The winding knob makes it a lot of fun. Here’s a video of me turning the flip book into an animation:
The original makers behind flipbookit are Wendy Marvel and Mark Rosen:
Kinetic artists Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel have widely exhibited their series of original motorized flipbooks, which are based on the motion studies of Edweard Muybridge. In addition to exhibiting at the 2011 San Mateo and 2012 NYC Maker Faires, the original series was shown at the Kinetica Art Faire in London in March 2013. The flipbooks were also featured in the January 2013 issue of MAKE Magazine and in the February issue of WIRED Magazine.
Our Maker Faire was a busy but incredibly fun experience. Thanks if you stopped by our booth, and thank you to the rest of the makers for putting together such amazing products and demonstrations.
Hey MonkeyLectric-nation! How are ya? I’m fine, thanks.
I’ve compiled a (very non-comprehensive) list of cycling related podcasts for you. Just for you!
I have not really listened to many of these, but I’m sure some of them are really great. My descriptions are mostly what I’ve gleaned from their ‘about pages’, if not direct quotations of said pages, so please don’t hate me if they don’t live up to your expectations.
Many of them I found out about through the recommendations of Redditors, who can (and should) always be trusted to deliver quality advice.
Please feel free to share your favorite podcasts with us, cycling related or not, and also please share this with any interested parties you know of who are looking for more podcasts to listen to.
“Have fun, ride safe!”