LED lighting system for bikes

 M132S Live3
The MonkeyLectric LED light system, invented by Instructables.com co-founder Dan Goldwater, turns spinning bike wheels into a psychedelic experience. Over at Boing Boing Gadgets, Brownlee has written a magnificent essay on the inherent weirdness of bicycles and the magic of MonkeyLectric lights. From BB Gadgets:
I've always wanted a bike like that. Perhaps not one that turns onlookers minds into a gelatin-like slurry, but a surrealist bicycle. Because, if you think about it, there is something inherently weird about the bicycle. With its chittering gears, bristling spokes and spinning chains, there is something insect-like about its workings... a mental connection evoked by its best synonym, velocipede... a synonym which seems to share both etymologic and entomologic phylum with the centipede.

I'm not the only one to be fascinated by the bike's innate oddity. Bicycles are often used in art as symbols of the inherently absurd: children's books are filled with magic or living bikes, and the penny-farthing is such a marvelously implausible method of transportation that it is constantly used as the butt of jokes in television shows. The penny-farthing was also the logo of Patrick McGoohan's hallucinatory sci-fi spy series, The Prisoner: the bike, by itself, was a symbol of the surrealness to come.

There are few pleasures in life purer than bicycling around on a bright, brisk day. This is because bikes are already just wonderfully odd inventions... making a bike even stranger is less an act of mechanical eccentricity than an attempt to pass the pleasure of riding one to the people you cycle past, emphasizing to them what they forgot: the bicycle's marvelous strangeness.
Review: A month with MonkeyLectric LED Light System for Bikes (BB Gadgets)


  1. I have a curious bicycle. It’s a shaft-driven bicycle. A rather large men’s version, actually, which my father got cheap for me when I was twelve. 28″. It was a riot to see me get on it when I was younger.

    Pity that it’s broked, and because I don’t have the money to fix it, and certainly can’t modify the shaft-drive on my own (or modify the frame to accommodates a geared system,) I’m stuck walking.

    But when I do get myself a chain-driven (ah, I miss thee) bicycle, or maybe a cute little electric bike, I’m looking forward to some psychadelix.

  2. …Screw the artistic angle. I could see these as popular as free joints if marketed for the safety aspects! But on the other hand, I could see something like this happening that would get them yanked off the market:

    “George! Why are you pulling over?”

    “Martha, there’s a cop with his lights flashing right behind me!”

    “Oh, George! That’s just Dennis and his new bike!”

    “New bike? Why that little…”

    [Mr. Wilson slams on his brakes. Dennis goes through rear window of the car]

  3. Related: if you like nifty glowing things on your bike, check out the Down Low Glow. I have the blue set for my recumbent trike and I am a small pedal-powered spaceship in the dark. (Yes, you can get CCF lights for far cheaper; this is a bike-specific package that, IMO, is worth it)

  4. I concur with OM (#6) on the use of a system like this for safety. I bike to work daily. Visibility to motorists is paramount. I’ve got LED systems flashing all over, but THIS would really get a motorist’s attention. Nice work!!

  5. but would having these lights on your bike make you more of a target for bicycle-hating po-lice?

  6. > The MonkeyLectric LED light system, invented by
    > Instructables.com co-founder Dan Goldwater, turns
    > spinning bike wheels into a psychedelic experience.

    Since when does building a copy of something that’s been around for years, equal “inventing”?

  7. …. greeeeat. Just in time for BurningHippie. Buy not only a brand new playa-bike, but fancypants decor for it, too! :/

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