Back in the dark ages, we used to have to use language to describe things from the past that others might not have seen on TV. Then, along came Youtube. Now, almost any memory I have of something related to TV is viewable within a few seconds.
Reader Jack sent along some ideas on how to keep your hydration systems clean, and his email reminded me of a Keystone Light commercial. I have never tried Keystone Light, but the commercial is etched in my brain, and if you have not seen it yet, it can now be etched in yours.
Trust me when I say that this campaign is preferable to the Bud Light Spuds McKenzie commercial series . . . only walk down that internet road if you are prepared to vomit in your throat a little. But back to business . . .
It is not pleasant when you gulp down liquid refreshment and end up with a skunky, nasty taste in your mouth. You can avoid this by drinking microbrews and by following Jack's secrets for yuck free cycling hydration. Take it away Jack . . .
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1. Use the zip top hydration bag because you can clean it easier and the hose detaches easily as well. No need to buy the "cleaning kit" at great expense.
2. Put only water into the hydration bag. I use electrolyte tablets in my water bottle and I use an easy to clean lid system.
3. Fill the bottle from your hydration bag when mountain biking if you want electrolyte. For road use, use two bottles, one water, one electrolyte and alternate bottles.
4. Use two denture cleaner tablets to clean the hydration bag. Run some of the blue cleaning solution into the hose. Let sit until clear again. Rinse with clean water.
5. The most important part of cleaning: Dry the bag and hose before you put it away! Nothing invites yucky taste like putting a wet bag or hose away to get nasty between rides.
6. Use BBQ tongs and a paper towel to dry the bag. Use the tongs to prop open the bag overnight to get the last tiny drops of clean water to dry.
7. Vacuum out the water from the hose with the vacuum feature of your favorite vacuum. Pinch the mouth valve open and hold above the vacuum to drain out 90% plus of the water.
8. Use the binder clip to hold open the mouth valve on the hose. Place as shown so you don't crush the valve too harshly. Let dry over night after vacuuming the water out.
9. Use a new, unused freebie mascara brush from the makeup department to clean up the bottle nozzle now and then. Don't steal your girlfriends old mascara brush, trust me on this.
10. Have a second hydration bag and set of bottles so one can dry overnight while you use the other. It is the drying that keeps it yuck free.
Thanks to my wife Renee for suggesting the vacuum cleaner idea. It works!
Some lights are great, but they don't come with the right hardware or interface to mount where you might like them. Reader Mike liked his Knog light, but his bike set up did not make it visible. He put on his thinking cap and came up with this great hack.
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I have a Knog rear light that mounts on the seat post. When mounted to the seatpost it was not visible when my trunk pack was on. Due to the way the light mounted, there was no way to screw it to the trunk pack so I made an extension.
Reader Bruce sent along this simple and useful hack to carry tools while riding. And if your intent was actually to play tennis and you were carrying tennis balls instead of tools, see this previous entry for a hack to carry your racket.
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I saw a recent Bikehack water bottle tool holder. For years I have been using old tennis ball containers to do that job. I recycle plastic (not tin) tennis ball containers with plastic lids that you get when you buy tennis balls. These tennis ball tubes of various brands often come in 3 or 4 ball size. They fit great in a bicycle's bottle holder, are easy to get to when repairs are needed, and are water tight. So if you have two water bottle cages and only want one water bottle then you can use the other cage to hold the tennis tube.
Some bikes will fit only a 3 ball tube due to frame size. On bikes that fit a 4 bottle holder you can probably fit two tubes in it depending on tyre size. For the 4 ball tubes I usually put a small velcro strap around the top of the container and the bike frame to stop it moving around sideways - depends on how tight your cage is.
In mine I carry a spare tube, levers, patches, multi-tool, disposable gloves, band-aids, zip ties, elec tape and about 1m of string for tying the bike seat up to a tree branch or fence when repairing a back wheel puncture.
I find these to be better than bike shop tool bottles. The wide opening is easier to get things in and out of than using an old water bottle. I carefully remove the metal airtight seal before use. Be careful that there is no sharp edge left inside the opening when you tear off the metal seal - pliers or the edge of a screw driver can fix that if necessary.
For my night time commutes I line the inside of a clear tennis ball tube with a sheet of reflective material. If you ride in very wet conditions you might run some tape around the top of the bottle overlapping the lid, normally I don’t need that.
Reader David was having difficulty with a wobbly wheel and decided to get creative with miscellaneous parts from his garage. I would say this DIY truing stand was a brilliant success. For technical assistance with the actual truing process, this Bicyle Tutor link might be helpful. Take it away David . . .
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I have been clearing the garden shed, as one does, and the old tandem from the shed corner has been earmarked to go to my son, in London. I have been trying to put it into some sort of roadworthy condition for a couple of days now.
I could not get the rear brake to work properly due to a rather untrue wheel. So, for the first time ever, I decided to have a go at wheel truing. Its one of those things I always thought I couldn't do, and, besides, it needed a fancy bit of kit to achieve. Please see attached. It obviously didn't take long to 'make', and it worked just fine.
The brackets came from a box in my garage labelled 'Building Brackets'.
Bike Hacks has never officially sponsored anything, but there is a first time for everything. Bike Hacks logo creator and former frequent contributor Andrew, his posts died off when he became a breeder, had to go under the knife recently. He ruptured a disk - for the second time. I hope one day he will get the logo he created tattooed on his bad self, but until then a sticker to help keep the bandages in place will have to do.
Swift healing Andrew - Bike Hacks is a proud sponsor of your recovery.
I was recently speaking with a friend about his interest in buying a bike. He lives in NYC and I thought about all of the commuting and riding I did there as I offered advice. One piece of advice I gave was to get flat bars rather than drop bars. He just wants a bike to ride around on for utility purposes, not for hardcore exercise.
When you have mean streets, lots of pedestians, and tons of motor vehicle traffic, drop bars might not be the best option. But what if you could have the best of both worlds? Reader Rail Bike Bill clued us into this hack from the VeloOrange blog.
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While this example does not highlight traditional drop bars, the same concept could apply to drop bars. In hacking bars like this you have the issue of possibly needing two sets of brake levers, or very quick reflexes.
Spotted this bike in Cambridge, MA. Helmet hair is a common concern among cyclists, but this hair is rare. Not really sure what to make of it, but readers are encouraged to comment and/or submit captions. I will review and send some BikeHacks.com stickers to the one who makes me laugh/contemplate the most =)