Sometimes accessories need accessorizing. Reader Scott takes us through his Topeak rack conundrums and how he hacked them.
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I use a Cannondale 29'er for my daily 25 mile commute. I couldn't mount a standard rack and am not a fan of backpacks (OVERHEAT!) so I use a Topeak Beamrack.
Mounts securely, works great. I have a small duffel that I strap to the rack with book straps (camping store) and the bag condenses down to whatever size I need.
This leaves two problems. Now and then, depending on bumps and speed, the bag wants to roll off the side or warp off the back of the rack. The other problem was that I never have available real estate to mount a tail lamp. So my hack is a add-on to my rack, that solves both of those problems.
It is made out of copper pipe (I used 1/2", 3/4" may have been good but also heavier.) I used about 3 feet of pipe, 3 elbows, 3 caps and a tee; a coupe of sheet metal screws and glue; friction tape to increase diameter for the lamps; and black paint. I added a single copper pipe clamp for stabilization. Necessary tools included a tubing cutter, drill, and a Dremel with cut-off wheels to do the bottom shaping.
My plan was to just place the add-on on top of the Topeak, and let the tying down of the duffel to hold it there. I stuck with that, but the original construction didn't 'sit' nice. I decided to notch out a section of the Tee (and adjoining pipe) so it would settle better, but I went one step farther, and made my cutout section match up with the Quicktrack. I now slide the rack in from the back. It doesn't lock in (never my intention) but is adjustable forward and backward.
My notches are a little off, whick results in too much play in the fit, so a single pipe clamp works perfect to keep the racks aligned. Also, I have about 7" between the vertical side posts. That would be too narrow for a typical stiff bottomed duffel.
So now, for the commute, I slide the rack and the pipe clamp on the Topeak, set my duffel down, slide the rack towards the seat to snug up on the duffel, and use the book straps to bundle it all up tight. My bag doesn't move, I have twin Hotshot lamps on the side vertical bars, and plan to put a third light on the rear post.
I was also not able to mount a kickstand, and am not a fan of leaning a bike, and was short of wall and floor space for the bike(s). I stumbled upon an easy fix: I hooked an old tie-down strap to the end of the garage door rail up by the ceiling, and hooked the lower end under the lip of the seat, and adjusted the length short enough to keep the rear wheel off the ground. Quick, easy and works great.
Reader John, from somewhere in California, found a child trailer and decided to convert it into a cargo trailer. Bravo John.
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I converted a Trek Rocket single child bicycle trailer to cargo trailer.
We recently featured some handlebar grips of questionable comfort, and reader Nick who blogs at Bicycle Obsession sent along some DIY leather grips which look rather comfy. The full article can be found here, materials and pictures below.
- A pair of worn out lock-on grips (if you don’t have, or you can’t find in your friends’ garage, you can buy them off ebay for around 3$)
- an (unusable) leather belt that you don’t want/like (non-slip, tough, amazing feel, beautiful looks, your hands doesn’t smell rubber after the ride, doesn’t leave black spots on your hands.)
– razor / knife
- A good pair of scissors
- a piece of thick fish line (incredibly resilient to the elements, most of the times you can find it for free, looks great, amazingly strong)
- A Dremel
- Needle-nose pliers
You start here . . .
. . . and you end up here!
Then I clicked on another link he sent along and the wooden grips got more exciting.
Now there is something I have never seen before. I thought I had covered most ways to mount a camera to a bike in our 21 DIY Bike Camera Mounts post, but how wrong I was.
I recently experimented with capturing my bike commute with a camera, and quickly concluded that filming my rides would only serve as a possible sleep aid. I am not a member of the quickly growing camera army, however I see them being used by more and more riders these days and we have also seen an uptick in people emailing us their camera hacks or videos they have either made or enjoyed.
I thus thought I would put together a list of DIY bike camera mount hacks. A few are off the bike, but meant for biking. Enjoy and if you have come with a hack not listed, feel free to send it to us for posting. And if you view this list and mash up your own DIY hack, feel free to send it to us as well. Lights, camera . . . Action!
1. Plastic Bottle Hack
This first hack is simple and is also flexible for use off of a bike. You can mount the screw end of platic bottle on your bars and by combining the screw top and cap with a bolt, nut, and washer combination you have your mount.
Picture Credit to eeio.blogspot.com
The beauty of this hack is that you can use it off bike as well, just put some liquid in a bottle and you have a portable tripod.
Picture credit to www.jakeludington.com
2. Repurpose an existing bike accessory mounting bracket
This is a similar concept to the first DIY mount, but is based upon repurposing a simple reflector mounting bracket.
Picture Credit to thefridaycyclotouriste.com
Around midnight last night I had an idea to mount my camera to my bike. I went out in my garage and found a bolt that fits the bottom of the camera and a part that used to attach my light to my handlebars before I moved it to my fender. I added a little gorilla glue, went to bed and this morning it was finished. I think it turned out pretty nice.
Ready to roll.
3. Plastic Clamp
The picture pretty much says it all here.
Picture credit to ossum on instructables
4. Metal Clamp
Same idea as number 3 here, just with a metal clamp instead.
Credit to dortonward on instructables
5. Affix bent metal bracket to rear wheel skewer
This first one does not look all that stable and one would want to pay particular attention to sweeping left turns.
Picture Credit to nabityphotos.com
A similar, and likely safer hack was featured on BikeHacks.com via the folks over at Montague folding bikes.
The Go Pro clip slides into one side of the base, so we kept the screw off to the other side, out of the way. The adhesive on the base also helped hold it in place.
Then we just clipped the camera into its bracket:
To mount it on the bike, we used an extra long quick release skewer. We drilled the whole large enough that it also works with a bolt on axle.
We had it angled back to get as much of the bike in the shot as possible:
6. Gear ties
I came up with this hack myself. Just take some gear ties and run them through the camera case - a bandana and some velcro made for bar stability.
This is both frightening and frighteningly simple at the same time. Reader Michael submitted his mounting hack to BikeHacks.com back in September of 2012.
8. Plastic box hack for smart phone or similar device
Over at diybiking.com there is a hack using these parts . . .
To create this . . .
9. Duct tape and cardboard
A well placed hole is this DIY solution that was submitted by reader Jessi would work. Jessi wrote:
It's made entirely out of duct tape and cardboard. I attached it to an old reflector which I then attached to my handlebars. It works great and is super secure. It holds my Droid which I use to track my speed and distance while riding. If it rains, I just slip a baggy over it to keep my phone dry.
To make the frame of the cell phone holder I used the box that manila envelopes come it. I cut a corner of it to size [leaving a little extra on the cut side to fold and tape] and then cut out the front window part. Then I just used a bunch of Duct Tape to make it more secure and colourful [I used turquoise]. I then used an old reflector and taped it to the back. I mounted it on the front handlebars which makes it closer to eye level [I use my phone to track my speed and distance]. It works great. I even hit a few potholes and it didn't move at all.
This PVC hack posted by tinram over at instructables is probably the most awkward in my opinion. You would have to be quite careful when removing the back pack, and every time you looked over your right shoulder to check out traffic you would seemingly capture your face.
11. Tripod and zip ties
This, um, interesting hack found over at coltography.ca might take the cake when it comes to most zip ties deployed in a single hack.
12. Rigging Equipment
If you want to flip the script so to speak and go all selfie with your bad self, reader Nicholas sent us this back in February. He wrote:
Out of necessity, indie band "And the Giraffe" used spare rigging equipment and a few pieces of duct tape to stabilize a film camera on the front of a bicycle for their newest music video. The setup was deceptively simple, but the resulting shots were extremely stable as the band rode around downtown Los Angeles and into the desert outside the city. The rigging was fastened to the frame of the bike and the handlebars and small pieces of duct tape were fastened into straps to help give the camera more stability on the unforgiving LA pavement.
13. Pipe clamp, inner tube, metal bracket
This elegant solution, found at the Matrix like web address drwsxce6xtjnu.cloudfront.net, ingeniously uses a pipe clamp, inner tube, and metal bracket. Very appealing and simple.
14. Accessory Extension
Not so much a DIY hack here, but I thought this picture from palmbeachbiketours.com was worth posting nonetheless. This cockpit is definitely in the running for a captain dashboard award.
If you did want to go all DIY, here is a hack from our 10 Strange Bike Handlebar Set Ups post which would allow one to go hog wild with accessories beyond a camera. Spotted by reader John at the Ala Moana shopping mall garage in Honolulu, HI.
Visiting Hawaii and was at the mall when I saw a bike locked up that has a weird hack of two short rubber tubes holding a pipe between the mountain bar extensions to create a rectangular upright bar for the rider.
15. Rear pole mount
Reader Andy sent me a link to this reddit post which features a pole hack which gives a 3rd person view of the rider. The dude in the video spends like $150 on this, mainly due to using a carbon fiber pole (Fred alert), but a broom stick would be a cheap substitute. Screen shot from YouTube video -
YouTube video of the hack in action -
16. PVC side mount
Over at mtbr.com contributer anthonyi came up with a hack similar to #13 on the list.
17. PVC 360 Swivel Mount
For the action hero out there, with some PVC tube and some bolts, you can capture your epic exploits. Not advisable for those who prone to falling.
18. Repurpose those eyelets
Using eyelets to mount a bracket could work on both the front and back. Credit to contributor sickmtbnutca over at mtbr.com.
With a sharp object and a pipe clamp, contributor fehlbergo came up with this over at instructables.
I had never hear of corian solid surfacing, but with a drill and saw, instructable contributor marple200 fashioned a very cool seat mount that looks like it came out of a factory.
Sometimes the style associated with a hack makes it truly awesome, and I saved this one for last because the style factor is off the charts. This one is pretty simple, but requires a full helmet - and having a mullet seals the deal. Visit John Shafer's article at mtbr.com for more.
Have a hack that did not make the list? Feel free to send us an email and let us know so we can post.
Some people go through a lot of trouble to custom fit a bike, and others take a bike and make it fit. Reader Alfred from Sweden sent along the following:
I have seen all sorts of bike bells, however reader Randy sent along this ingenious little bike bell hack. If you have a brake you are not using because of a drivetrain change, this is pretty cool. Using a cable to engage a hack is something we also recently saw with a suspension fork lock out hack.
I have never owned suspension forks. My riding is not radical enough to require it. Reader John was doing some research on how to service Manitou Forks and he ran across this cool YouTube video of a remote way to engage and disengage the suspension mechanism. Pretty sweet, and much more sophisticated than the majority of the hacks we feature =)