Some of the best bicycle projects for #CycleToWorkDay

Avid followers of our Raspberry Pi Twitter account may be aware of just how bike-loving the residents of Pi Towers are. From the weekend cyclists to Cambridge-London-Cambridge racers, the flat land around our office calls us to jump on a bike and explore the fenlands.


In celebration of #CycleToWorkDay, we’ve brought together a collection of some of our favourite bike-themed Raspberry Pi projects, perfect for those of you who enjoy a bike ride — or a pint!

Bicycle-powered beer dispenser

The Glaswegian company Bright Signals was tasked with a tasty project: create something for Menabrea that ties in with the Giro d’Italia cycle race passing close to the beer brewery in Biella, Northern Italy.

Menabrea Beer Bike Raspberry Pi #CycleToWorkDay

The result? This pedal- and Pi-powered beer dispenser that went on a 4-week celebratory tour ending in Glasgow.

You can learn more about this project here.

A rather dandy Pi-assisted Draisine

For a minute in the 1800s, before the introduction of pedal power, the balance bike, or Draisine, was the fun new way of getting from A to B.

A team at Saarland University, Germany, headed by Prof. Holger Hermanns modernised the Draisine, bringing this old vehicle up to date with power assistance thanks to the Raspberry Pi.

Read more about this Draisine here.

Raspberry Pi–powered cycle helmet

Jen Fox’s Raspberry Pi safety helmet prototype uses an accelerometer and a Raspberry Pi Zero to monitor impact force, notifying the cyclist whether or not the impact of their fall deserves medical attention.

While you should always seek medical attention if you have a bike accident, the notification LED on the helmet is a great way of reminding stubborn cyclists that their accident was more than just a tumble.

Learn more about Jen’s build here!

Matt’s smart bike light

This one comes up in conversation A LOT at Pi Towers. Matt Richardson’s smart bike light project uses a Raspberry Pi and hall effect sensor to determine the speed you’re cycling at; a project displays your speed in front of the bike.

For those who know Matt Richardson, we hope you appreciated this blast-from-the-past, beardless Matt. In fact, we know you did.

Find out more about this bike light here.

The Bicrophonic Sonic Bike

British sound artist Kaffe Matthews has created a new type of cycling experience. The cyclist divides a virtual map into zones, and the Bicrophonic Sonic Bike plays back music to the rider based on which zone they are in, courtesy of an on-board Raspberry Pi with GPS dongle and speakers.

As you can see from the video, the sound played can range from the calming peace of the countryside to the rather loud, disturbing buzz of the city.

Learn more about the tech behind the project here.

Hacked Kindle bike computer

David Schneider’s bike computer displays speed, distance, time and more on a Kindle he hacked with the help of a Raspberry Pi.

The experimental browser on the Kindle displays a web page hosted on the Raspberry Pi. And the glare-free E Ink display makes the screen easy to view regardless of light conditions — perfect for sunny weekend bike rides.

Find out more here.

Any others?

Have you hacked your cycling experience with a Raspberry Pi? Do you have a pedal-powered project in the works? Or would you simple like to boast about your bike and cycling achievements? Let’s get the cycle conversation going in the comments below. I’ll start!


Alex Bate avatar

My road bike is called Olivia. She’s just over two years old and I love her. She’s a Giant Liv and when I can, I love early morning cycles before work. She’s been stolen twice so far while locked up in Cambridge so I’ve become very overprotective of her. I also have a 3-speed Schwinn cruiser called Gerschwin who weights more than a human begin. Great for the flats of the fenlands on a slow, Sunday cycle. Not so great for commuting.

Christina avatar

She’s been stolen twice? How did you get her back TWICE??! I had a great Giant bike that was stolen once, and I never saw her again.

Alex Bate avatar

The first time I caught the guy walking away with her and confronted him. The second time, I found her a day later, shoved into a bike rack. I’m so lucky!

AndrewS avatar

I think I might have parked up next to Olivia this morning :)

Alex Bate avatar

I’d worry as she’s in my conservatory today. Haha.

AndrewS avatar

LOL, must be a lookalike!

Chris avatar

Liv/Giant is a cycling brand dedicated solely to female riders, correct?

Alex Bate avatar

The Liv brand is, yes. Giant as a whole is for everyone :)

Shannon avatar

My road bike is 25 years old. I think it needs a pi upgrade. What crazy features would be cool? Driver assist?☺

Alex Bate avatar

Definitely Matt’s awesome speed light. So very cool.

chris1284 avatar

most useless is the Speed beamer and the crash helmet that informs you that you had crashed.

why nobody builds a smart bike with pi zero, battery and charger, weatherproof touchdisplay (displays speed, temprature, humdity, batterystate, charginstate, to swich light on /off navigation wia googlemaps or offlinemaps) and speakers/sound for musicstreaming, dashcam … the kindl is nice … when sun is shining but when it rains? Display a map is cool but without navigation useless

Daverob avatar

Never install stuff inside a cycle helmet. If you have a serious impact, then whatever you stick inside will end up embedded in your skull. Same with any metal fixings/screws etc that could be driven through the shell of the helmet into your head.

While it may be cool to have a pi shaped indentation in your head, (and would be quite a benefit when it comes to wearable tech,) medically speaking it would be considered to be a sub-optimal solution.

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