Hey Cycle Ladies and Gents. The boyfriend and I have finally made it back stateside for a quick stop in NYC before we bounce on over to Asheville, NC for the summer. While walking on my way to the metro with a friend, I spotted this supah-sweet-and-can’t-be-beat bike vending machine in (of course) Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
I didn’t get a chance to see if the hunk-a-junk is in working order as we walked at a New York pace to the metro stop. Plus, it seems the Traif Bike Gesheft (Non-kosher bike shop) that hosts the bike vending machine went belly-up awhile back. Any of you other commuters have these awesome 24-hour bike shops around your ‘hood? They seem pretty handy, but I usually carry a spare tube and a multi-tool in my commuter bag anyway. But for all you commuter junkies out there who just can’t make it through the night without a quick fix, scrape up some change, and slink over to the 24-hour Bike Shop on S. Sixth Street in BK.
You may have noticed that we don’t pitch very many Kickstarter campaigns here — and lord knows we field a TON of them every week. It’s sort of an unwritten rule here at Bikecommuters.com…you want crowd funding? Take it somewhere else.
There are exceptions, of course, and here’s the latest from MonkeyLectric, which happens to make really great bike lights and has been good to us over the years, letting us test prototypes, shooting the breeze with us at Interbike, and advertising here to help us keep the site running.
Along with the lights we’ve reviewed here, MonkeyLectric also makes a “Pro” series light (mostly a prototype/custom-orderable) that is, well, frighteningly expensive. Enter the Kickstarter campaign — seeking a way to be able to mass-manufacture this light system at a better pricepoint:
MonkeyLectric Kicks Off Funding Production of Revolutionary New Bike Light via Kickstarter
Monkey Light Pro gives bike riders a novel way to express their unique individuality in a dazzling manner
BERKELEY, CA. MAY 22, 2013 – MonkeyLectric announced today the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund manufacturing efforts of its new product, the Monkey Light Pro, a unique bicycle light that utilizes cutting edge technology to allow users to display images and animation on their spinning bicycle wheel. The Pro series is for people who want to get their message out, express their individuality and be seen. The company is using the crowdsource fundraising efforts of Kickstarter to finance the manufacturing, which can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/minimonkey/monkey-light-pro-bicycle-wheel-display-system?ref=live.
The Monkey Light Pro, a more technologically advanced version of the popular Monkey Light Mini and the original Monkey Light models, features 256 LED lights and 4,096 colors that can be customized into designs uploaded via Bluetooth. Monkey Light Pro also allows users to upload up to 1,000 photos or 90 seconds of video. The Pro series is mounted to the bicycle wheel where it is easily viewed from both sides and multiple angles; the Pro is shock resistant and weatherproof.
Driven by MonkeyLectric’s eclectic backgrounds, the lighting art featured in their namesake product are designed by various graphic and psychedelic artists, including the well known David Ope, and provides riders the ultimate way to express their creativity. When the bike is in motion, it uses the “persistence of vision” effect to display the images that come pre-loaded or created by the users through its open source API.
Previous prototypes and models of the Monkey Light Pro are currently on display at major shows, in museums, as well as in Japan in collaboration with the Fukushima Wheel Project. This particular project utilizes a modified Monkey Light Pro attached to environmental sensors, where light patterns adjust to the levels of environmental pollutants in the area. The Kickstarter campaign hopes to make the product more accessible to developers, artists and the general public.
“Our first Kickstarter campaign allowed us to establish our own manufacturing line here in the USA,” said Dan Goldwater, MonkeyLectric’s CEO. “The success of that campaign helped us create 3 new jobs, make fixed capital investments in machinery, and relocate to a larger facility. With this campaign we hope to continue to invest in our manufacturing capabilities and make the world’s most advanced bicycle display system available to the market.”
During the campaign, Monkey Light Pro will be available to the first twenty pledges for $495, forty at $595 and 100 at $695. The price point after the campaign will be $895.
MonkeyLectric was founded by Brown graduate and MIT scientist Dan Goldwater in 2008 and is the leader in fun and visible bike lighting. Based in Berkeley, California, the small company aims to make cycling fun and visible. They created the Monkey Light to be make to make riding at night just as fun as during the day. Over the top creativity and tongue in cheek marketing campaigns have put MonkeyLectric on the map, and all products are proudly made in the USA. Learn more at http://www.monkeylectric.com.
Just to give you an idea of how amazing the Pro light system is, check out this video that showcases the capabilities:
It should come as no surprise, especially to our Florida readers, that Governor Rick Scott unleashed his formidable line-item veto to kill that (and $368 million additional) funding in the state budget:
One of Scott’s largest veto items: $50 million for the state’s Coast-to-Coast connector, a bike trail stretching from St. Petersburg to Titusville. Scott said the state’s ongoing transportation budget already includes more than $57 million in statewide funding for transit greenways and bike paths, and that the connector could be completed over time.
I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this — I knew this veto would occur, but I wonder if the existing transit funding mentioned will actually be used to help complete the Coast-to-Coast Connector. The sticking point in Scott’s use of the phrase “could be completed over time”. “Could” certainly doesn’t mean “WILL”, and over time could mean decades…long after Florida desperately needs tourism dollars.
As you may have heard, Citi Bike is launching Memorial Day weekend in New York City with 10000 bikes and 600 stations.
Our friends at BreakThru Radio shared a link to the following video, where they try to capture the general “on the street” feel for what bike share will lend to the city. Reactions range from unbridled enthusiasm all the way to near-vehement hate of cyclists. Here, take a look for yourself:
One of the surprising reactions was about the loss of on-street motor vehicle parking, one of the common complaints when any bicycle infrastructure is proposed. In the above video, almost everyone had a vaguely “good riddance” attitude toward parking!
Any New Yorkers out there in readerdom who want to chime in? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.
The information is gleaned from the National Household Travel Survey, and:
The number of bicyclists is growing rapidly from coast to coast. The National Household Travel Survey showed that the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009.
Thanks, in part, to encouragement efforts like Bike to Work Day, the number of bike commuters is on the rise, as well — especially in Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, from 2000 to 2011, the 39 Bicycle Friendly Communities among the 70 largest U.S. cities saw a 80% increase in bicycle commuting.
One caveat: this is from 2010/2011 data — information is only “periodically” collected by the Federal Highway Administration. To take a look at the rest of the LAB article (which includes a link to download a PDF version of the infographic), please visit their site by clicking here.