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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,338

    DIY Bike rack trailer lights

    Last winter I bought a fat bike to get a little more exercise and try to extend my riding through the winter months here in Montana. There are a series of trails close to work that are easy to get to for a quick 1 hour lunch ride and I can usually squeeze in 2 per week. However, driving to and from home coats the bike in all kinds of road grime and chemicals intended to keep the roads clear of ice and snow. Not great for my drivetrain.

    This winter I decided to buy a cheap cover from Amazon to cut down on how much of this gets on my bike.

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    However, this came with an unintended consequence: the cover, when stretched over the bike, totally covers my rear tail lights on my truck.

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    After the first trip to work and realizing (in the dark) that this might be the case, I decided that I needed to find a solution. Without the cover, the tail lights can be seen through the bike wheels, and the first idea was to cut out the fabric around the wheels and replace with some kind of clear plastic. This died pretty quickly as I started to think about how to cut the fabric the right shape and glue appropriately.

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    As I thought about it a bit more, however, I figured that there was no reason why I couldn't just wire a set of temporary (magnetic) or permanent trailer lights as I wasn't using the trailer connector when the bike rack was installed. I wanted to keep this cheap (~$20-30) because . . . well, I'm kind of a cheapskate. The online reviews of the magnetic lights were not encouraging so in my searching, I ran across a strip of LEDs designed to mount at the bottom of your tailgate.

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    I figured that with a piece of aluminum angle, some zip ties, self-tappers, and a 4-pin extender, I could come up with a good plan. I just finished and installed today and I think it's going to work great. It works for blinkers, brake lights, and even has clear LEDs for reverse (although I didn't go through the effort of wiring this into my reverse tail lights). In the dark, it looks a lot better than in the light (Picture is with left turn signal on). It will get it's first test tomorrow on the way to/from work.

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    If anybody has any questions on specific parts or pieces, let me know.

    Seth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Shadynasty's Jazz Club
    Posts
    7,991
    Nice work, but why not put it under the cap?
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    4,311
    Was thinking the same. Is your bed full of things that can't be removed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    CB
    Posts
    799

    DIY Bike rack trailer lights

    I put some basic trailer lights on my Thule hitch mount rack and my Moto hitch rack that plug into my 4 pole hitch plug. I donít use a cover but with 2 bikes or my Moto the wheels blocks my taillights and turn signals on my Ford Escape. Lights came with self tapping screws and took about 10 minutes to install.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,338
    Quote Originally Posted by bagtagley View Post
    Nice work, but why not put it under the cap?
    The bed does have other things in it, and as I continue to ride with others through the winter, have no plans to take the rack off. Feedback from this morning is that it's visible, but it wouldn't hurt if it was brighter. May add a second strip later. Only downside that I can see at this point is that the truck thinks I'm pulling a trailer, so it's logging miles as trailer miles.

    Seth

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Southeast New York
    Posts
    6,220
    I need to do something like this for my car. Other than road bikes everything blocks my lights, even the high brake light. Once I figure out how to wire them up to the car the rest ought to be pretty straightforward.

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