Category: technology

Here’s a fun one that appeared in our inbox yesterday, from the makers over at MakerBot. They’ve used their MakerBot plastic 3D printing machines to “pimp out” a bike in a video spoof of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” (one of my tv guilty pleasures…shh, don’t tell anyone):

[Here’s] the latest episode of MakerBot TV, which focuses entirely on ways to make your bike even more awesome with unique accessories! What makes these accessories different is that every item featured in MakerBot TV Season 1 Episode 7 was printed on the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, an affordable open source printer that can make just about any object in plastic.

I thought this might be something you’d be interested in posting on your blog as a new way that you and your readers can design and print personalized accessories for your bike! Check out the video [below] for a hilarious spoof on “Pimp My Ride,” called “Bot My Bike” hosted by Xzibot (Xzibit’s robot cousin)!

Here are just some MakerBotted objects featured in the episode:

– Valve cap
– Tire levers

– Handlebar plug

– Light assemblies

– Sprockets

– Cup holders

– Phone holder

– openVolver light kit (grid of 36 diffused LEDs with 255 levels of brightness and built-in light strobe animations)

– Multi-colored spoke beads

You can download all of these accessories on, MakerBot’s online community where users can post digital design files, document their designs, and collaborate on open source hardware.

The Thing-O-Matic works like a robotic hot glue gun: ABS (the same plastic used to make Lego) or biodegradable PLA thermoplastic goes into the MakerBot as filament and is heated to a controlled temperature. The melted plastic is then pushed through the nozzle in a thin stream, building an object layer by layer.

MakerBot Industries was named one of the top 20 startups in NYC, and has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, The Colbert Report, The Wall Street Journal, Engadget, CNN, Financial Times, NPR, the Economist and others.

Our friends at MonkeyLectric are having a contest:

Create a pattern and enter it in our contest. You could win a Mini Monkey Light and even get your pattern included in the final product!

Use the grid template and color palette below to draw your pattern. You can print out this file and use markers, or open it in your favorite image editing software.

Submit your pattern at to enter the contest. The top five entries will win a new Mini Monkey Light! Entry deadline is October 30.

Full details, template downloads and other tidbits are available on the MonkeyLectric website. Also, there’s a great gallery of current entries to get your creative juices flowing.


Our friends at tipped us to a new video they’ve posted on YouTube. It combines bicycles and light art, two of my favorite things, and is really quite enjoyable. Seeing as how National Bike Month is in full swing around the country, the video is certainly worth sharing.

In their words,

We all know that when people ride bikes, life is better. In this short video, we bring this idea to life as riders trigger projectors throughout a city, transforming an urban environment into a vibrant, colorful world. A world made better, by bikes.

Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments below.

(STAFF WRITER’S NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, this post was delayed…A WHILE)

I arrived home from work the other day to find a small brown box addressed to ‘lil ol’ me!

Oh! What could it ever be!?!?

Planet Bike

Mark from Planet Bike sent out a new product to try out that will be released this  Spring!

Introducing the NEW 2011 SuperFlash TURBO!

Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo

Here is an into from the ‘wordsmiths’ at Planet Bike:

In 2006, our introduction of the Superflash tail light ushered in a new era of innovation in bicycle lighting.  Building on our tradition, we are now proud to introduce the evolution of bicycle safety: the Superflash Turbo.  We paired our time-tested design with a powerful 1 watt LED, then added the new attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern. It’ll give you peace of mind riding day or night.

Superflash Turbo tail light (#3070)

  • 1 Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AA batteries
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options

MSRP     $34.99

In my initial inspection of the light I couldn’t find any major differences. The Turbo is the exact size of the tried and true original Super Flash. The housing is identical, with the exception of the red “TURBO” printed on the clear face and the big RED Super Flash lense

Since I had just ridden home from work, my first chance to test this light out would be on my next trip to and from work.

The next day, I suited up and clipped the Super Flash Turbo onto my bike. It was a bit overcast, so ambient light was at minimal levels. I felt as if I was being followed by a group of glow-stick swinging club kids! The TURBO light pattern is definitely more eye catching…

(side by side comparison of the Turbo & Standard Super Flash light pattern)

I am excited to say I was one of the most visible people out on the wet streets of Portlandia!

Many more miles of commuting ahead of me… I’ll give you an update at a later date…gotta ride!

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we took delivery of a Breezer Uptown 8 for testing. The folks at Breezer were kind enough to let us hang onto the bike for a couple months so we could really get a good feel for it. I’m not quite ready for the full review (that should appear here in a couple weeks), but I wanted to share some of my first impressions with you.


Overwhelmingly at the top of my list is that despite the Breezer’s complexity — it is absolutely loaded down with every bell and whistle a commuter could possibly ask for — riding it is utter simplicity.

Say what? Look, it’s like this: this is a bike you simply jump on and go…no checking whether lights were installed or left on the kitchen counter at home, no running out of battery power midway through a ride, no rolling up pants legs or using one of those trouser clips, no funny “clickety-clack” shoes, no chain maintenance and no worrying about the delicate shifter parts getting gummed up or knocked out of place. Simply step through the frame, flip the switch to activate the generator-powered lights and off you ride! This is INCREDIBLY liberating…what was once a task of a few minutes getting any of my other bikes ready to go (lights, batteries, tires, lube, pants/cuff/shoes) has been whittled down to, “got enough pressure in the tires? Good enough.” I am sold on the concept of hub generators and since I started riding the Breezer, I’ve been fantasizing about equipping all my other commuter bikes with them.


We’ve tested a number of bikes with internally-geared hubs on in the past, so there’s nothing new to report with the Breezer and its Nexus Premium 8-speed rear hub. It works nearly flawlessly, can be shifted at a standstill or under load and allows Breezer to spec a full chaincase — not just a chainguard — to seal the chain away from the elements. I’ve heard tales of Breezer owners going for several years without ever servicing their chains.


Riding the Breezer is comfortable and stable, with the upright stance typical of this class of city bike. Everything fits and feels just right. You won’t be setting any speed records aboard the Uptown 8, but then again it wasn’t designed for such riding. Things are looking good for the long term!

Please stay tuned for the full-scale review, which should be along shortly. In the meantime, check out Breezer’s urban lineup by visiting their website.