Introduction: Under Glow for Your Bike for Under 25$
This instructable is what happens when you happen to look up the prices of LED strips and realize that they can actually be relatively cheap and useful. Most of them are rubberized and weather resistant. A lot of them come with USB plugs. hmmm aren't USB battery packs getting pretty cheap these days too?
I ride my bike daily for my commute to and from work and have found that there is no such thing as being too visible. After being frustrated with how few drivers actually see me, I set out to change that... with style.
Step 1: Gather Materials
This is a very easy project, requires no fancy wiring diagrams or angle grinders. All you need is some tape, a USB battery pack and a USB LED light strip. What you end up with is an awesome looking bike that is also very road safe.
- clear tape : for securing the strip to your bike frame
-USB battery pack : these come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of storage capacity. I'm using a relatively small sized one that is easy to clip under my seat. On the down side, i have to recharge my battery a bit more often. Check out websites like aliexpress.com or amazon.com for cheap battery banks. A small 5600 mAh battery can go for 5$. ON/OFF buttons are very very nice features to have for this project
-LED light strip : these come in different colours and lengths, just make sure it's a USB plug in one!
Step 2: Clean Your Bike!
Any grease or debris is going to impede proper adhesion.
So get that tooth brush and bike cleaner out and get to work. WD40 works pretty well as a degreaser and cleans frames pretty well. I prefer use the MEC Bio-Cycle cleaner.
Step 3: The Build
Now comes the fun part. Most LED strips come with a self adhesive sticker on the back side. This really helps when placing the strip.
take your time and do it right.
stick it many times, move it around, pick your spot, just be sure you're happy with the placement of it!
Things to keep in mind:
-think about where and how you'll place your battery pack
-is your wire long enough to reach there?
-what part of your bike do you want to illuminate?
-is your LED strip long enough?
LED Strip: once you are happy with the placement of your strip, take your tape out and secure the light to your frame. I wen't lengthwise along with my frame and had a couple strips wrapping around my frame at the start and end of the light. I added a couple strips of duct tape around my bottom bracket as preventative extra strength. I ride my bike every day through the 4 canadian seasons, so i expect the clear tape to eventually decay. I'm hoping the duct tape will keep the crucial attachment points together for longer. I made sure that the duct tape goes in between the LEDs!!
The Wire: I taped my wire in a similar fashion, see photo for more details, i tried to keep it somewhat out of sight, but also out of the way. I have a bike panier and don't want to accidentally rip the wire in half when putting my bag on my bike.
Battery: I have my battery under my seat to keep it dry when its raining. (I usually use a plastic bag on my seat when its raining). Elastics work well for me, cheap, easy to replace, have good grip and are flexible. I initially considered setting up a more sophisticated attachment rack but figured it's just one more thing that can break. Also, figuring out a legit way to detach and replace the battery when wanting to recharge is more difficult than it seems. Elastics do the job well enough for my tastes. I'm sure you could get away with some nice velcro strips!
Step 4: Ride
now go out and ride your bike! (at night for best results)
enjoy the safety of being seen by everyone on the road, as well as the looks from envious onlookers.
If you like this instructable, please vote for me in the Bicycle Contest! (should be in the top right side bar)
Step 5: Next Steps?
For those of you who want to take this one step further, there are a few cool things that I considered doing for this but haven't gotten around to doing.
-Dynamo powered lights
-Multicoloured and flashing
-Implementing a turn signal
-Any other ideas? (comment section is great for these discussions)