How To: Make the Most Brilliant Bike Light Ever with This LED Handlebar Mod

Make the Most Brilliant Bike Light Ever with This LED Handlebar Mod

If you ride your bike at night frequently, you've probably had at least one close call with a car, pedestrian, or some other moving obstacle because of reduced visibility. Not only is it dangerous to ride at night without lights, it's illegal in a lot of places. Make sure no one can miss you with these DIY handlebar lights from Becky Stern at Adafruit.

What You'll Need

  • LED strip (3 to 6 feet should be enough)
  • Waterproof DC power cable set
  • 8 x AA battery holder
  • Heatshrink tubing
  • Clear handlebar tape
  • Pouch for battery holder (or fabric if you know how to sew)
  • Waterproof fabric (such as tablecloth vinyl)
  • Velcro closure tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Zipties
  • Tools (soldering iron, multimeter, wire strippers, etc.)

If you're not sure where to get some of these parts, Adafruit carries the LED strips and power candles, among other things.

Putting It Together

To get your handlebars all lit up, just follow along with Becky in the video below. If you need something to follow along with, just check out her tutorial on Adafruit or just print out the PDF instructions.

Overall, it's a pretty easy project if you know how to solder already. That would be the only thing stopping you, but you can also get up to speed on soldering here.

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As for attaching the battery pack to you bicycle, there's many ways you could do it; If you have something you can use as a pouch, simply put the battery holder into it and use Velcro to affix it to your bike's top tube. Then just plug in the cables and go!

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If you prefer (and have enough LED tape), you can try this spiral design, or come up with your own.

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What modifications have you made to your own bike to make riding at night safer?

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I'd imagine that the brightness would cause your irises to close thus causing you to lose the ability to see better in the dark and therefore anything significantly ahead of you. If I was going 15-25mph I'd like to see the road surface in front of me -- doesn't seem possible with something like this.

I was kind of wondering how that would affect the bicyclist's vision myself. Seems more of a cool way to prevent cars from hitting you rather than a way to see the streets.

maybe think of putting a casing around it with holes drilled out and a visor on top to help keep the light out of your eyes and focus the light towards the front?

Would be great under the downtube! You'd be seen by traffic AND wouldn't burn out your retinas.

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