New light for bikes

2 min read

The Pedalite KPL100 is the world's first kinetic pedal light.for bicycles.

It was a dark and stormy night early in 1998 when Chris Stimpson drove to the Wych Elm pub in Kingston-upon-Thames to meet with 3 friends as usual on a Wednesday evening.

Rounding a corner he was dimly aware of a figure on a bicycle emerging from the gloom and crossing his path with inches to spare.

As a result of this experience Chris gave a challenge to one of his friends, Richard Hicks, an engineer and already an inventor with a number of patents to his name.

The challenge was to find a way of providing cyclists with a lighting system that was automatic, integrated within the bicycle and preferably battery-free for today's environmentally-conscious world. In other words, if you got on your bike, you had lights, they were on all the time and you couldn't turn them off.

The result of their deliberations was the Pedalite KPL100, the world's first kinetic pedal light.for bicycles.

Pedalite requires no batteries as the cyclist is the source of energy. Even when the cyclist is stationary or free-wheeling, Pedalite's energy storage system ensures that the high-efficiency LEDs remain flashing for up to 12 minutes. These LEDs provide a 360 degree warning signal to the motorist.

Unlike any other lighting system on the market today, Pedalites, once fitted to a bicycle, are activated and energy is stored automatically by the action of pedalling.

It is very difficult to identify a cyclist at night in today's traffic conditions. Pedalite provides a Unique Light Signature created by the movement of the pedals. The signature is easily identifiable to the motorist and uniquely provides information about the cyclist's distance, direction and relative position. Pedalite provides pulses of white light to the front, red to the rear and amber to the side.

The Pedalite principle is to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy from the movement of the pedal spindle. The spindle drives a micro-generator (dynamo) in each pedal producing enough energy to illuminate the coloured LED's in each pedal. The energy storage technology eliminates entirely the need for any form of battery.

Pedalite is a British invention, designed, developed and manufactured in the UK, that uses lightweight composite materials selected and tested to withstand harsh use in extreme conditions.

The official launch was at the UK Bike Show on April 1st/2nd/3rd 2005 at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

Pedalite multiplies the spindle rotation using a gearbox and generator to convert rotational energy to electrical energy. Sufficient energy is available to energise the LEDs immediately and charge a storage capacitor. The capacitor provides residual energy enabling the pedal to flash when the cyclist freewheels or stops. A combination of super bright LEDs energised by two micro generators produce six beams of pulsed light clearly visible at 1000m. A cyclist will expend less than 0.5% (0.3W) of their propelling energy to energise a pair of Pedalites.