NOTE: This is a guest post by Emma Jenkin, who like most of us, craves a TRON LightBike, and set out to make an affordable one! Learn more about Emma at the bottom of this post.
Yes, all you need legally for your bike is a white light up front and a red rear light. I know when I’m biking at night I can hardly see other cyclists with just those lights, so I can’t be all that visible either.
There are a bunch of options out there to light up your bike a bit more. There’s Bike Glow (+$40 after shipping), LED by Lite ($100-$150) Fibre Flare (as yet unavailable in Canada) and the awe-inspiring Monkey Electric wheel lights ($70 and up).
Now I admit I didn’t start biking for the environment, and I didn’t do it for the exercise. Those are bonuses. I did it to save money. And I figured there must be a way to brighten up my bike on the cheap.
You will need:
- Submersible LEDs
I got mine at 100 Candles – a ten pack runs you about $12 and comes with extra batteries. Shipping to Toronto was $16. I’m sure any number of LEDs will work, but the on/off needs to be on the bottom of the fixture. The ones from 100 Candles twist on/off.
I bought Reinforced Braided Vinyl Tube in 5/8” from Canadian Tire – the diameter must be as close to the width of your LED as possible as the light has to fit tightly in there. The 5/8” tubing I got was pretty much perfect. At about $4 a yard, I managed to make three lights out of it.
- Utility knife
- Zip ties or metal clamps
- Cut the tubing to the length you want, making sure there is space at the each end when you attach it to your bike so you can fit your in there to turn the light on/off.
- Carefully carve the inside edge of the end of the tube so that the LED fits tightly. You don’t want it falling out. Make sure you can still turn your LED on/off. Mine stick out enough from the tubing to allow for this.
Carving the inside edge. Go a little bit at a time. You don’t want it to be loose around your light.
The LED in the tube. The bottom half of the light is outside the tube because it needs to twist to turn on.
Testing the light
3. Repeat the process for the other end of the tube.
4. Strap your new light to your bike frame.
It looks really cool.
About the inventor author
Emma started commuting by bike in February of this year and loves it. She always stops at red lights, and wears a helmet (apart from in these pictures). She works in communications at a national arts organization and adores Toronto.
You can learn more about this snazzy individual at about.me/emmajenkin or follow her on twitter at @indeedemma