Disco bike project

There’s nothing like a bit of James Brown and some neon wire to brighten up your making. We recently ran a couple of sessions building what we call ‘Disco Bike’ (although ‘Funk Bike’ is probably closer to the truth. As you can see in the video below we made a glow-in-the-dark, sound activated bike:


  • Kid’s bike. Kindly donated by Mr 6.
  • Electro-luminescent (EL) wire
  • Sound-activated inverters
  • Bluetooth Speaker

EL wire is pretty cool stuff: when you put alternating current (AC) through it, it lights up like a neon light.

disco-bike-inverters-smallThe trick is that in order to be mobile on the bike, we need to use batteries to power our EL wire (we can’t use mains power!), but batteries provide direct current, not alternating current, so that’s where the inverters come in. Inverters can turn DC into AC, powering the wire. Even cooler, we used inverters that are sound-activated- they light up when there’s a sound and don’t when there’s no sound. Perfect for a disco bike!

To assemble the whole operation, we wirelessly connected the bluetooth speaker to a phone for music, then zip-tied the speaker to the bike. We then mounted the inverters near the speaker and wound the wire all around the bike. When we turned the whole thing on, and played music through the speaker, the bike lit up in time with the music.

Disco bike!