MonkeyLectric Blog

What Do You Get When You Cross Monkey Lights with Antique Farm Equipment?

 krueger_atlas_c

To find out, stay tuned for another installment of Monkeylectric’s interesting customer profiles!

This month, we got to know a little more about Dwayne Fuller of Longview, Texas. Dwayne combusted our minds when he sent us a video of our M232 attached to an antique gas engine. We were very impressed with this unlikely application of our bike lights and had to know more behind the man and the machine.


 

Dwayne fires up the 4 Horsepower Krueger-Atlas engine with an M232 strapped to it

 


 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where do you live and what do you do?

 

I live in Longview, Texas. I have lived here since 1985. I build and manage commercial property, which is my second carrier. While in high school, I started an insurance salvage pool in my hometown of Lufkin, Texas. I sold my salvage pool to Copart in 1995 and worked for them until 2001.

 

 

 

What is your bicycling and mechanical background? What is it like riding a bike where you live?

 

I grew up riding my bike almost daily. I still remember my first new bicycle was bought at Western Auto. I wore that bike out several times over. Most of the county roads were dirt and the grit took it's toll on the chain and bearings.

 

"Western Auto Sign" by James Case
 
"Western Auto Sign" by James Case

 

 

One time I had the bike upside-down, adjusting the chain and wheel bearings. I did not tighten the front wheel bolts enough, but had them snug enough that the wheel stayed on when I set the bike upright. I took off down the driveway and popped a wheelie. When the bike went up on the rear wheel, the front wheel flew out of the forks. All was okay as long as I rode the wheelie, but a calamity occurred as I lost momentum and the front came down. The forks dug into the dirt and stopped my forward progress. I went flying over the handlebars, with the bike following me. Of course, this was in the mid 70's so there is no video evidence to post on Youtube.

 

 Ouch! Well, it looks like someone else managed to catch that accident on film.

 wheelie

What is a Krueger Atlas engine? What were they used for, and how did you get into collecting them?

 

A Krueger-Atlas engine is an antique four cycle gasoline engine made in San Antonio, TX around 1912. It was used to power a water pump. These types of engines were used for many purposes on the farm. I have been collecting engines for about 30 years. I have around 50 different brands.

 

"35HP Krueger-Atlas" by KruegerAtlasGuy
 
"35 Horsepower Kruger-Atlas" video by KrugerAtlasGuy

 

How did you get the idea to attach a Monkey Light to the Krueger-Atlas engine?

 

I first saw a Monkey Light on a flywheel engine on the internet in a forum I visit often called SmokStak. It was not explained very well by the poster but I was intrigued. A few weeks later, I was at an antique engine and tractor show in Catoosa, OK and saw it in person. After watching it a few minutes, I knew I had to have one. I asked the engine owner to shut his engine down so I could see the device. He went to the truck and got the packaging the Monkey Light came in and I copied the info in my notebook. That was on a Friday night and soon as I got home on Saturday I ordered two Monkey Lights from Amazon. They came in a few days and I could hardly wait until dark to see how it would look. I gave one to my running buddy who collects engines, also.

I am having an engine show at my house on April 23rd and we will be playing with the Krueger-Atlas with Monkey Lights. Not sure what engine my buddy put his on but will know in a few weeks. I have had several engine friends wanting more info on the Monkey Lights so we may have several engines show up here with them. I will keep you posted.

 

Thanks Dwayne! We look forward to seeing and hearing more of these antique engine LED displays!

 


 

Watch more videos here of Monkey Lights on Antique Engines at the 2015 Mt. Pleasant, Iowa Engine Show!

 

Videos by Rich Mueller Sr


 

Share Your Story!

 If you would like to share with us what you have been doing with your Monkeylight, please send an email to chloe @ monkeylectric.com

Watercolor by Bicycle: Brian Gangelhoff

Brian draws his inspiration for paintings from the cycling and camping he does in the bay area. He seems to capture not only the image, but the feeling of those rides. The way a shaded section opens suddenly to bright skies and rolling hills. The way sunlight breaks through trees, tracing phantom potholes as it dances on asphalt. The way redwoods reach up and touch the sky as leisurely as if it were their true home.

How long have you been painting?
I painted some in high school and early 20s but didn't think I was particularly good at it. I've always made art in different formats but picked up watercolor painting a little over 3 years ago.

When I was a kid I had a flower press that I used on flowers, leaves or anything that would fit. Try as I might, I couldn't fit trees and hills into it. Is that why you decided to paint them instead?
That's funny. I just bought a flower press at the white elephant sale today!
I started painting with watercolors because I could bring a small kit bike touring. I painted landscapes because that's what was there. I found I like the small format too.

South Gate-Mt. Diablo 2016

Somewhere on Hwy 4 2015

Somewhere on Hwy 4 2015

Sibley Sunrise 2015

Sibley Sunrise 2015

San Pablo Dam Road 2013

San Pablo Dam Road 2013

San Francisco Bay 2013

San Francisco Bay 2013

Salt Point SP Prairie 2015

Salt Point SP Prairie 2015

Do you make your own paint?
Nope. Store bought. I do modify brushes. Can't find them small enough so I cut some bristles off.

Yeah, I imagine it's difficult to get color from water. I've noticed that over the years you seem to play more with shadows cast in the foreground, which I really like. Has it affected your ability to cast dark magic?
Ha! I just paint what I see or what I like. No magic involved! ... Dark shadows are easier to paint!

As a Bay Area cyclist, I like that I recognize a lot of the views you paint. Do you hear that a lot?
Yep, I do. I didn't set out to paint so many roads but that's where I am with the bike so that's what I see and paint and or take photos. I seem to have a talent for painting pavement.

Redwood Road 2015

Redwood Road 2015

Pinehurst Rd 2016

Pinehurst Rd 2016

Pinehurst Rd 2013

Pinehurst Rd 2013

Mt Diablo 2015

Mt Diablo 2015

Morgan Territory Rd 2015

Morgan Territory Rd 2015

Happy Valley Rd 2014

Happy Valley Rd 2014

You've been camping since you were a kid right? When did you start camping and touring by bicycle?
Yes, I grew up camping. I quit driving over five years ago and the biggest thing I missed was car camping then I realized I could strap things on the bike and camp with that. I've found it a much more satisfactory way to camp as well.

When there's something strange in my neighborhood, I call my aunt because the Ghostbusters aren't real. Do you ever paint trees that are houses for elves?
Yes, most definitely. Of course you can't see them but I know they are there. I also paint full alien cities in the clouds before covering them up in more clouds.

I knew it! Illuminati!

 

If you're interested in purchasing any of his work, Brian can be reached at [email protected]

-John

Mt. Tamalpais 2014

Mt. Tamalpais 2014

Mammoth Lakes 2012

Mammoth Lakes 2012

Hwy 4 2015

Hwy 4 2015

Choinumni Park 2014

Choinumni Park 2014

Black Mountain Platform Ridge Rd 2105

Black Mountain Platform Ridge Rd 2105

Crest View Trail 2013

Crest View Trail 2013

China Camp Sp 2014

China Camp Sp 2014

Big Basin SP 2015

Big Basin SP 2015

Big Basin SP 2015

Big Basin SP 2015

Big Basin SP 2015

Big Basin SP 2015

Basin Redwood Sp - 2014

Big Basin Redwood Sp - 2014

rainbow roller

Hey everyone!

Aaron here. I’ve been trying for a while now to figure out how to pull off a compelling video about side-visibility without having to shoot our lights straight on (since that requires shooting with a camera capable of a 360º shutter angle in order to have them look like they do in real life). Recently, Emily from the London Cyclist blog posted an article about our lights as a follow up for another article they posted about cyclist visibility (too many links?). This renewed my desire to film, and I came up with the idea cover up the window in this narrow room we have in the office and shoot some roller riding action as a test. The test shots ended up being pretty decent (in our minds, at least), so we decided just to go with one of those instead of overcomplicating things. I slapped on some music I made last year and put a simple intro and outro on it, and voilà! Enjoy.

I’m still considering doing more expansive and fancier videos on the topic. See you then, hopefully!
Cheers!

-Aaron

 

I’m really sad to hear about the Greenwood explosion in Seattle that leveled Neptune Coffee, Mr Gyros, and Quick Stop, and significantly damaged G&O Family Cyclery. I was fortunate to have had the chance to have great coffee, delicious gyros, and look at some awesome cargo and family bikes last fall during a personal vacation.

Though not obliterated in the explosion like some of the other shops,  G&O was damaged enough so that they cannot do business out of their location.  Some inventory was damaged as well.

Davey and Tyler at G&O Cyclery in Seattle

Davey and Tyler at G&O Cyclery in Seattle (Image via their GoFundMe campaign)

During our visit, we had a nice time chatting and checking out their bikes.  I saw my first “in the flesh” Bike Friday Haul-a-Day.  They carried a number of bikes from Oakland-based neighbors, Xtracycle, as well as some Bullitts and Metrofiets.  I got to see the updated version of the Tern folding bike that I own.  The Nimble cargo scooter made us smile:

Nimble cargo scooter

Nimble cargo scooter (from nimblescooters.com)

 

And most importantly, for other parents of infants out there, they had a changing table in their bathroom.  How many bike shops offer that?

If you’re inclined to lend a hand to help them rebuild or relocate, check out their GoFundMe page.

-Phil

An animated GIF clip from this Felix le Blanc video in Chamberry, Aix les Bains, le Bourget (Savoie, France):

m232_leo_nobile_felix_leblanc

Featuring Johanne Berthou, Leo Nobile, and Jeremy Brosset riding their bikes through dark city streets with our M232 bicycle wheel lights.  There are some nice BMX tricks in the full video.  We love how the M232’s LEDs illuminate the walkway and side of the building.

Do you run with your child in a jogging stroller in the evening?  For some of us, that’s only the time we can get our workout in.  I wanted to feel safer while running with our daughter in our Thule Chariot, so I put our M204 bicycle wheel light on the front wheel.  This only works for “normal” spoked wheels that are 16″ or larger.   Some joggers, such as the Bob, have large plastic spokes that the light will unfortunately not fit on.  The front wheel of the Chariot is 16″, and the rear wheels are 20″.

 

I found that the light does a good job of keeping us illuminated and safe in the evening, especially while crossing through intersections.  I’m not sure what people thought when they saw our light up stroller.  My daughter is also pretty amused by the changing colors.

M204 bicycle wheel light on a Thule Chariot jogging stroller

 

m204_durability

 

We decided to punish an M204 to give you an idea how tough they are. They do have limits, but I wouldn’t want to be riding the bike that reached them! Check out the video below.

How Do You Use Your Monkeylight?

What are people doing with their Monkeylights? We were curious to find out so we asked some customers who have done creative things with their Monkeylights to share with us.

 

We have been fans of New Zealand's Antoine Pethers since we first saw his collection of bicycle photography. We asked him questions to learn a little more about him and for tips on how he takes such great photos and he was gracious enough to be our guinea pig in the first edition of our Monkeylectric customer profiles.

 

Antoine pictured with the "impossibly pink" Lightpath in Auckland, NZ

 

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where do you live and what do you do?

My name is Antoine Pethers. I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and work in commercial printing.

 

 

 

What is your bicycling and artistic background?

I loved riding bikes as a child and back then it was a perfectly normal thing to do, we even rode to school. That's rare now as parents perceive cycling on the road as a dangerous activity.

In my mid 20s I worked in a design studio and we had this one young guy that was so obsessed with cycling it kind of rubbed-off on the entire staff. Before long I was totally hooked and purchased a mountain bike to race with my work colleagues. As well as commuting by bike we'd meet-up on Sundays to train on empty country roads, usually with the boss and a client in-tow.

Ten years ago I dusted-off my mountain bike and began riding to work again. I loved it so much I couldn't stop, and I wondered why more people didn't use bikes to get around, it was so much fun.

What is my artistic background? Well I've been interested in art, design and photography from an early age and have worked in those areas most of my career.

"New Kicks" by Antoine Pethers

"That Didn't Last Long" by Antoine Pethers

What is it like riding a bike where you live?

Auckland is in the midst of a bike-culture boom at the moment. After decades of neglect a lot of money is being spent on bicycle-infrastructure in the city and it's slowly filtering out to the suburbs. We have some world-class facilities now like the impossibly pink Lightpath, and everyones' fingers are crossed a cycle-path called Skypath will be slung underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge so those living in the north of the city (like me) can actually ride into downtown. At the moment you have to catch the ferry or ride 50km around the top of the harbour! In my part of town cars still rule and it's pretty gladiatorial, but attitudes are slowly improving.

"Fibre Flare Flashes" by Antoine Pethers

"True Love" by Antoine Pethers

How did you get the idea to photograph your Monkeylights?

I'm totally fixated with taking pictures of bikes and once I had that first Monkeylight installed, the patterns were so captivating I simply HAD to get pictures of them.

 

 

What is your process?

I work shiftwork so most weeks I'm riding in the dark, be it very early in the morning or late at night. I pull to the side of the bike lane, manually set the focus and exposure controls on my compact camera, and ride along holding it out at arms-length. I use a wrist strap for security and hold the camera upside down so I can press the shutter and my arm isn't in the frame. People assume I use some kind of selfie-stick, but at 6' 5" I just have really long arms!

 

 

"Hey, Four Eyes" by Antoine Pethers

 

Do you have any tips for someone else who may want to photograph Monkeylights in motion?

Find a nice wide empty street or you'll ride into something and hurt yourself. Pedal at a steady pace and experiment with slower and slower shutter-speeds until you get the best results. It needs to be long enough that the Monkeylight does a whole 360º rotation and doesn't overlap too much. Getting a little technical here, but I use a low ISO setting (usually 100) to keep the noise down (the grainy stuff in night shots) and a small aperture like f11 so the long shutter speed doesn't over-expose the photos. Because the LEDs are pulsing they come out sharp even if everything else in the image is a bit soft and wonky. Some of my best shots were captured as I rode under street lights, you never quite know what you'll end up with.

I take them in bursts and pick-out the best ones when I get home. You will get lots of rejects, that's half the fun.

 

 

Does it require any special equipment?

You probably need a camera with manual exposure controls, but you might get a result using the "fireworks" mode (or similar) on a compact camera. It's best if you can set the focus manually as you'll get mixed results letting the camera hunt around in the dark looking for something to focus on. I specifically bought a small camera (Sony RX100), so it's not a chore to carry along on bike rides. A wide-angle lens is handy if you need to get both wheels in the shot.

 

 

Is there an objective or statement you hope to make with your photos?

I'd like to think they portray the sheer joy of riding, and the fact you don't have to stop after it gets dark. Mostly though, it's about capturing the beauty of these mobile light-shows, they still entrance me.

 

 

"Converge" by Antoine Pethers

 

How did you hear about Monkeylectric?

I stumbled across one of your early videos online, the one with the catchy electronic soundtrack. I couldn't afford that first model but when the M232 came out and someone began importing them to New Zealand I took the plunge. Because I'm always riding in the dark I thought it would increase my visibility and it sure did that!

 

 

"Numbskulls" by Antoine Pethers

"5.55 am Invaders" by Antoine Pethers

 

Check out more photos and posts from Antoine!

See the rest of his MonkeyLight photos and photos of his bike-life in general here on Flickr

Also stop by Antoine's Community Bike Blog called Bike Friendly North Shore which he has run for a few years now encouraging people to bike-for-transport, and generally just get active and have fun with their families

 

We'd like to thank Antoine for sharing his insight and photography with us!

 


 

Share Your Story!

 If you would like to share with us what you have been doing with your Monkeylight, please send an email to  chloe @ monkeylectric . com

Our judging is complete...

We've been in touch with nearly all of the winners (Francesco and Dora, check your email!).  Thanks everybody for submitting so many nice photos and videos.  Our staff took a look at all of the entries and the winners are the top vote-getters.

 

Onto our winners!

THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

bicycle_moments_sityak

By sityak in Hungary

 


CATEGORY: ME AND MY RIDE

Sleek, Sexy, Silly, Suave or Sentimental?  We were looking for great photos of you with your bike.

FIRST PRIZE:

zannaloves in Seattle

zannaloves in Seattle

 

SECOND PRIZES:

by larryvarney in Kentucky

by larryvarney in Kentucky

by a_r_i_ in Germany

by a_r_i_ in Germany

THIRD PRIZES:

by francissssssssssss

by francissssssssssss

by yvrs in Massachusetts

by yvrs in Massachusetts

by mrgt_ in the Netherlands

by mrgt_ in the Netherlands

by flip_21 in Germany

by flip_21 in Germany


CATEGORY: FAMILY FUN

Uninhibited joy.

(Note: We didn't get enough entries in this category, but we decided to award some prizes anyway!)

FIRST PRIZE:

by avanbee in the UK

by avanbee in the UK

 

SECOND PRIZE:

by by finnsnaterse in Finland

by by finnsnaterse in Finland


CATEGORY: SCENERY

Natural wonder and beauty.  We were looking for photos of the amazing places where you've taken your ride.

FIRST PRIZE:

by gabornagylbn in Poland

by gabornagylbn in Poland

SECOND PRIZES:

by she_rawrs in Colorado

by she_rawrs in Colorado

by meszagabi in Germany

by meszagabi in Germany

THIRD PRIZES:

 by zakharvenuko in British Columbia

by zakharvenuko in British Columbia

 by dorapopovics

by dorapopovics

by patxdaly_

by patxdaly_

by mariarandima

by mariarandima


CATEGORY: LA NOCHE

Show us your night.  We were looking for your best shots at night.

FIRST PRIZE:

by gary_stubelick in Massachusetts

by gary_stubelick in Massachusetts

 

SECOND PRIZE:

by hautlife in Alaska

by hautlife in Alaska

THIRD PRIZES:

 by treehuggerchris in Texas

by treehuggerchris in Texas

by chimneychickens in Washington

by chimneychickens in Washington


CATEGORY: MONKEY LIGHTS

Unabashedly awesome, unadulterated fun.  Who had the best Monkey Light photos?

FIRST PRIZE:

by mr_dudders in the United Kingdom

by mr_dudders in the United Kingdom

Featuring our M232.

SECOND PRIZES:

 by jipsyy in New Jersey

by jipsyy in New Jersey

BicycleMoments by cyborgmanlibre from the Canary Islands

BicycleMoments by cyborgmanlibre from the Canary Islands

THIRD PRIZES:

 by mkharunaga in Hawaii

by mkharunaga in Hawaii

by wasabirice

by wasabirice

Thanks again for participating, everyone!  You should sign up for our mailing list below, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and of course Instagram to be the first to hear about contests in the future.

Our M204 versus other bicycle wheel lights

We took a look at our M204 Monkey Light against other wheel-lighting options on the market.   Some of these lights mount in between spokes, some mount on the tire valve ("valve cap lights").  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. (f/22, 1/3sec 800 ISO, 18mm focal length).  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.

Using M204 as a baseline, I tried to choose camera settings that gave the clearest image of the lights while shadowing out anything in the background. This had the unintended result of making all the lights tested appear much dimmer than they would to the human eye. We brightened all the images by exactly the same amount (2 stops) in Lightroom. For all of the comparisons, The M204 is on the left, and other lights are on the right.

Our M204 is fully waterproof, emits 40 lumens of light.  You can press a button to cycle between color combinations, and they last for up to 60 hours on a single charge.  With 4 full-color LEDs, it provides 360-degree visibility for your bike.

-
John

 

 

MonkeyLectric M204

 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Niteize Spokelit

niteize spokelit

Niteize Spokelit

These are single LED lights, housed in translucent plastic so that the entire casing glows when the light is on, but are brighter on the side with the LED.   This fits between the spokes of your bicycle wheel.  They progress between different colors over time. Installing these was probably the easiest of all the lights.  They run for 20 to 25 hours and use 2 CR2016 button-cell batteries, just under half the run-time of a M204.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Cateye Orbit

Cateye Orbit

Cateye Orbit

These are very similar to Nightize, same easy to install design, with a single LED, so the light is stronger on one side than the other. The Cateye only shows light in one color..  They use 2 CR2032 button-cell batteries and claim a 30 hour or 50 hour battery life, almost as much as our M204.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Sunlite Wheel Flash Sabers

Sunlite wheel flash saber

Sunlite Wheel Flash Saber

The Sunlite consists of 3 LEDs, blue, red & green. They connect to Schrader style valve stems, but can be attached to Presta valves with a Schrader adapter. They do not have an on or off switch, but use light and motion sensors. They are supposed to only turn on when it's dark and your bike is in motion. On the test wheel they kept shutting off and I had to give them a flick to turn them on again. It's possible that a stationary wheel doesn't jostle them enough to set them off even when it's spinning. Personally I found this to be the best after our own. A caveat: they only have lights on one side, but are designed so that you can twist them to face whatever direction you prefer. I shot images of them facing towards the camera.  Battery life is unknown but they use 3 tiny button-cell batteries.  All of our lights are visible on both sides, and provide 360-degree visibility.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

NiteIze See'em

Niteize See'em

NiteIze See'em

These seemed to weigh the least of all. The installation was mildly difficult, but it was probably the most original attachment mechanism I've seen and it seemed to work well. To turn them on, you twist the same cap that screws on to hold the batteries, only you turn it past a point that feels like it's fully tightened. They're small, and you have to use a lot of force to do this, which made it difficult to tell if I was just turning them too far and might break the casing.  The light is only one side, but you can face them either way. One light was brighter than the other, but I checked all batteries prior to the test with a multimeter and they all had a full charges.  They take one 927 button-cell battery and the batteries last 24 hours.


 

MonkeyLectric M204

Animated M204

Tire Sparx

Tire Sparx

Tire Sparx

Single flashing LED, same installation as the Sunlite and like the Sunlite they have motion sensors, but they do not have light sensors. This should mean that they will be on whenever the wheel is in motion, even in daytime. Like the Sunlite, I found that they tended to shut off if I didn't flick them now and then to get them to stay on. These come 2 to a pack, so you can put one on each wheel.  No word on battery life, but they take small button-cell batteries.