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Brit company seeks funding for speed-displaying light + video

Kickstarter campaign launched to put innovative VeloCityLight into production

An Edinburgh-based company is looking for funding on Kickstarter to introduce a rear bike LED that displays your speed as you ride.

According to its inventor, Euan Mackenzie, “Drivers see the VeloCityLight and associate the displayed speed with their own rate of travel. It’s a prod, a mental prompt to re-evaluate their own rate of travel and their subsequent actions.   

“Its effect on drivers is fundamentally different from any other red light. A number is a meaningful symbol that has to be processed, registered and stored in semantic memory. This is what makes the VeloCityLight something special.

“Regardless of whether the cyclist is travelling at the speed limit or at a gentler pace, VeloCityLight gives the approaching car more information about the cyclist in the visual noise of traffic, day or night.”

The idea is that the VeloCityLight immediately indicates to other road users that you are a cyclist, and it also functions as a brake light because it gets brighter as you slow down. The 48 individual LEDs give out 20-175 lumens.

How does the VeloCityLight know how fast you’re going? You fix an ANT sensor to your fork and a magnet to a spoke, as you do with most bike computers. The sensor sends the information wirelessly to the VeloCityLight. Sounds pretty straightforward. It’ll also send data to an ANT-based cycle computer, if you have one.

The VeloCityLight has adjustable levels of brightness, and a sensor automatically adjusts the brightness according to the light conditions of the environment. It runs on a USB rechargeable 1700mAh internal battery and the makers say that it offers between four and 12 hours of continuous use, depending on the brightness setting.

The VeloCityLight measures 110mm x 60mm x 20mm (about the size of an iPhone) and weighs about 65g.

Euan Mackenzie and his team have developed prototypes and are now looking for £40,000 in crowdfunding from their Kickstarter campaign.

If you pledge £45 or more you’ll be in line for a VeloCityLight and bracket that’ll work with an existing ANT sensor. Pledge £49 or more and you’ll get the full package, including a sensor (that goes up to £55 after the 100 earlybird places are taken up). Other incentives are available for pledges of different amounts.

As usual with Kickstarter, none of the money is taken unless pledges reach the campaign’s target. 

If they reach their target, the team aim to get the first units out by March 2014, or maybe February.

If you’re interested in more details, head to the VeloCityLight website or go to the Kickstarter page

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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