Frequent readers know that I am prone to the occasional rant, and I want to take an entry to rave about a new purchase - my Dyson Animal vacuum. Sure using a vacuum is not DIRECTLY related to bike hacks, but
efficiently cleaning my home means I can spend more time coming up with
bike hacks. And who knows, maybe the hack I came up with will inspire
others to think up new ways to clean things.
I did purchase the vacuum, it was not given to me by Dyson. I have used a lot of vacuums in my life, but this is by far the most enjoyable one I have owned. There are three things I love about the Animal. First, it has lots of different attachments for different purposes. There is an extension tube which you can use for example.
And there are several attachments for different purposes that can be used with or without the extension tube. Second, I love that is it battery operated. Using a cord is a pain and I have used many battery powered cleaning devices and most have not been up to the task at hand. This vacuum however packs a punch. Not having to use a cord means I use this vacuum more often. Third, this vacuum does not have a bag. I hate buying replacement bags and with this vacuum you don't have to.
Although I love the vacuum, it did not come with an attachment that will help with this problem.
Lint gathers in my dryer and the vents are too small for a standard attachment to fit through. I was cutting up some boxes recently and a light bulb went off in my head. Check this out -
At the top of the picture is a standard cleaning attachment that came with the vacuum and at the bottom is my box knife. The box knife has a thin sheath and my idea was to tape the sheath to the attachment. Voilà!
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The vent picture above was the before, and this is the after -
The box knife sheath hack worked like a charm and now I can spend less time trying to figure out how to clean my dryer and more time working on my bike. Carry on.
There are bike lights, and then there are bike LIGHTS. My rides are mostly urban and I can get by with a lower level light because of all of the ambient light I have access to. Reader Jesse on the other hand wanted to bike in conditions devoid of ambient light and he came up with a bad ass DIY solution. Take it away Jesse . . .
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This hack is for those that like night riding or want to get into it (it's great, never too many people and nice and cool) but think that those 300 lumen lights just don't cut it and don't have the cash for a 1000-2000 lumen lighting system (they can be like $500 - $1,000 dollars, yikes). Even with 1000 lumens, it's just not enough plus some of those systems out there can only last about 2 hours at max power.
There is hope though, with this slightly overdone bike light I built for my mountain bike.
The light you see featured in these pictures I made myself and it has a max of 7,000 lumens on high with a battery life of 2.5 hours, while it can do 3000 lumen's on low power for over 6 hours.
The light is made of 6 cree xml u2 LEDs mounted to a copper and aluminum heat-sink to keep its 60 watts nicely dissipated. To power this light I built a 150 watt-hours lithium polymer battery pack all in-closed in a extruded aluminum case.
I built the case so it can easily attach to any standard water battle cage (you can see on my bike the water bottle cage just happens to be on the bottom of the frame, that's just how GT decided to do there full suspensions those years). The weight of the light and the battery and all the wires come out to just under 3.5 pounds (with the battery being the fatty at 2.9 pounds). I also hooked up a few other cool things like rear red lights and a power level indicator so you know when you have to charge it.
The charging is done with a lithium polymer balance charger for rc cars and helis that I bought just for the light (cost me 30 bucks on ebay). I ended up building the whole thing for about $150 (would only have been $100 if i would have built a battery pack half the size).
For those who know high power LEDs have to be run at constant voltage and current to make them last (these are guaranteed to last 50,000 hours). So I have 3 parallel dc-dc converters with a 93 percent efficiency regulating them to put out 20 watts, 40 watts or full power of 60 watts to make just over 7000 lumen's of light, but the lenses I used are 92 percent efficient and I am getting about 6600 usable lumens.
To put this in comparison a standard headlight of a car gives 1000lm while a D2S Xenon metal halide arc head light you can buy gives you about 3000lm (so double that and that is what I hit the trails with). I can't imagine much more power being useful or very easily created (running this amount of power gives you a problem with heat dissipation which made me do a lot of testing to get a good rough design) but I think I will keep trying. Next I am thinking to go over 9000 lumens (for those dragon ball Z fans out there).
Out of The Netherlands comes the Feetz TriBike. This cycle was created by Dutch designer Lennart Vissern with one idea in mind: shopping on a bike with a child. With a quick and smooth fold it transforms from a regular bike to a shopping cart. It also has 5 gears and weighs 62lbs (28kg) and comes with a 5 year warranty.
It can also transform into a baby carriage! This cycle offers the same
benefits as the Taga, but with a different design.
Reader Joyce sent some haiku for our Fix it Sticks contest, and out of our exchange came a great hack for kids, what she calls the Pony Bike. Full credit to Joyce for text and pictures. Yeeeeehawwwww!
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The pony bike came from a sweet early 90's Cannondale MTB that we picked up on Craigslist specifically to become an Xtracycle. We installed the Xtracycle Free Radical attachment to make it longer, and then made the pony top out of wood (plywood and an old 2x12 scrap for the head and rump) and foot rests out of copper pipe. The handles on the front back rest are cabinet hardware. We learned brazing copper on that project, so then we could use our skills in installing a solar hot water heater the next year. :D
My kids (now 8), helped more with the Yuba, which I bought last summer; they painted the monarch wings from a picture and helped make the butterfly body out of plywood and another 2x12 scrap. :)
I have thought of many different security solutions for my bike, I had never thought of this one. Credit for text and photo to The Telegraph.
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Two dogs are seen guarding a bicycle in Nanjing, capital of southern
China's Guangxi Province. According to owner Luo Ganren, the pair are
protective of him and his possessions. "My bike has no lock, and I
never worry it would be stolen, thanks to my two puppies. They will
guard the bike by holding the bars until they see me back."
Reader Nick sent along a hack that took me way back to third or fourth grade when I got my first pocket knife. I remember how excited I was, and how quickly my excitement disappeared. The first thing I did when I got my knife was to start whittling a piece of wood. I have no memory of what I was trying to whittle, but I am right-handed and gripping the knife tightly caused my right-hand to tire after a few minutes.
I switched to my left hand thinking nothing of it and on the first attempt to whittle the wood, the knife skipped off the wood and I whittled my right index finger. I still have a nice scar that extends horizontally across the width of my right index finger. I probably should have gotten stitches but did not and I remember the cut taking forever to heal. The pocket knife I had so desperately desired found its way into a shoebox and I am not sure I ever used it again.
So what does this all have to do with bikes? Well Nick, who blogs at Bicycle Obsession!, repaired a broken helmet mirror by whittling himself a replacement part. Here is a diagram and be sure to check out his site for the full write up. Whittle safely!
Today, March 1st, is the deadline to enter the Fix it Sticks Haiku contest. See the original entry for details. After today, entries will be reviewed, winners will be picked, and world peace and a stable climate will ensue.
Tom: Torrington, CT
Fix It Sticks aboard No worries sully the ride Peaceful time ahead
An orange tool is cool so cool that I flip from joy feeling like a bike cowboy
When my bike needs fixing my orange tool always saves the day so I know the way
My orange little shiny multitool Always waits for action in my bag reliable like a good bud
Shaun: Lincoln, NE
Fix it Sticks are cool For tweaking my old road bike Like MacGuyver would
So don't be a fool This is your Swiss Army Knife Your mission awaits
Aaron: Sacramento, CA
fix it sticks for you to use on a bike or two and better than glue
Jeff: Appleton, WI
My bike needs some care on a road so far from home the tee gives me glee
So compact and light Two fix it sticks make a tee Still nowhere to pee
Garrett: Erie, PA
who needs extra bags I've got all the tools I need with my fix it sticks ~ oh, how wonderful there's no more tool weight worries with these sticks that fix ~ even when bikes break I can fix and keep my pace and still win the race ~ when a bolt is loose miles from my old school tools fix it sticks save me ~ when I see ladies and their whip could be shaky fix it sticks get babes ~ now I am married saved the bikes and now my life thanks to fix it sticks
Adjust it enough Loosen, tighten, keep moving Fix It Sticks amaze
Too many tools and yet None of them compare to these Fix It Sticks I want
Once rubbed sticks for heat But now Fix It Sticks are hot And problems are not
MikeMega: Bemidji, MN
I ride my own bike, thats why i fix it myself. We hack them ourselves.
The beauty is in the pedals and wheels that spin granting bliss within
We are like addicts- we hack it all. After all, we call it a "fix"
Please please push pedals. Real ideals reel wheels, feel healed. My mobile mettle.
Adam: Austin, TX
Bare metal in hand, torquing on the bicycle. Small, light, perfect fit.
Marcus: Lake Bluff, IL
Bike I ride daily, and Fix it Sticks added too! No reason to stop.
I'll never slow down. And why would I consider? Thank you Fix it Sticks!