Gadgetize Your Bike with these 3 Projects

Bikes Raspberry Pi Technology
Gadgetize Your Bike with these 3 Projects


Over the years at Make: there have been a ton of bike related builds, maintenance tips, and wacky modifications. It makes sense, as most bikes don’t come with much beyond the essentials to pedal and steer around town.

Whether it’s adding a practical accessory such as charging your cell phone, or personalizing your frame with bright EL wire, there’s a project for you and your bike.

Pedal Power Phone Charger

YouTube player

Using an old school bike headlight generator and a bit of circuitry, the pedal power phone charger is a great project to tackle in a weekend. The soldering isn’t too challenging and by the end of the project, you’ll never have to worry about lugging extra batteries with you on your biking day trips. For complete steps, check out the project.

EL Cycle

YouTube player

You might have a flashy frame, but it’s unlikely that it actually flashes. Change that with the EL Cycle project, which combines similar circuitry to the Pedal Power Phone Charger, but rather than topping off a battery’s power this AC-to-DC conversion powers a length of EL wire. Best of all, no one will be able to miss you riding at night! Check out the project for complete build instructions.

Cycle Chaser

YouTube player

If you really want to take your customization to another level, try running a projector that plays an animation in coordination with how quickly you are traveling all on the back of your bike. At the heart of this project is a Raspberry Pi and a Hall Effect sensor. The sensor is mounted to the inside of the chainstay and a magnet is secured to the rim. Each time the magnet passes the sensor it’s recorded on the Pi and the animation is advanced one frame. The faster the wheel is going, the more quickly frames will iterate. This is also a great project to gain familiarity with openFrameworks, a helpful collection of code to speed up creativity in software development. Check out all the project specifics.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

View more articles by David Scheltema