Turn your bike wheel in to an LED display

Most bicyclers know that lights are one of the most important safety devices a bicycle can have. If a simple front white headlight and red tail light isn’t flashy enough for you, perhaps you might be interested in something more creative.

There are a number of companies producing LED wheel lights that are able to produce text and images as the wheel spins. These devices use an effect known as persistence of vision, allowing one row of lights to blink rapidly as the wheel spins and create patterns that our eyes see.

YQ8007 bicycle wheel light (photo from GearBest.com).
YQ8007 bicycle wheel light (photo from GearBest.com).

Some of these lights produce simple patterns, while others can display full color images, text or even motion video. They all rely on the wheel spinning fast enough to make the effect work (usually around 10-15 m.p.h.), but by adding more rows of LEDs, the effect can be seen at lower speeds.

Simple single-color versions can often be found for less than $10 (including shipping) on e-Bay, and fancier ones that allow loading custom color images are around $40. There are even some that can display animated video. Most are programmed by hooking up to a Windows computer via USB, but some use smartphone apps and Bluetooth.

Here is a chart listing about a dozen different models:

http://subethasoftware.com/2015/08/11/bicycle-wheel-led-light-displays/

If you have something like this on your bike, let us know in the comments.

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