Thursday, June 23, 2011

Melbourne's Winter Lights

M is for Melbourne

The Winter Lights crew outside the Arts Centre

Last night I took part in the opening night of Winter Lights; a collaborative initiative between Melbourne Bike Festival and the City of Melbourne.  Every evening for the next two weeks, a band of merry cyclists will be cruising the streets of Melbourne town stopping off at various spots to have a chat and perform various tricks on various types of bikes.

The idea of the event is both to encourage Melburnians to get out on their bikes during winter and to offer some light entertainment to those in town.

Each of the bikes are fitted with MonkeyLectric lights.  These contraptions comprise of a set of LEDs that attach to your spoke and create pretty patterns when your wheels spin.  They can even be programmed to display something specific.  For example, the City of Melbourne's logo:

It's a great initiative and generated a lot of interest and it's good to see the City of Melbourne encouraging cycling in the city.  That said, I think the only way to get people out on their bikes is to build more good bikes paths.  Melbourne is still a scary place to ride for a novice, and the only way to allay that fear is to make it safe.  The difficult thing about making it safe is to do so (replacing car lanes with bike lanes and reducing the speed limit to 30km/h) will make a lot of people angry.  But as old Abe Lincoln sort of said, you can't please all of the people all of the time...

But enough of that.  Be sure to check out the Melbourne Bike Festival site for upcoming bike-related events and if you see the Winter Lights crew, say g'day.

Colonel Mustard with his MonkeyLectric lights fitted

The following photos were taken with a longish exposure and show some of the patterns generated by the lights.

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