Some of my best hacks have been aided by beer. Okay, all of my hacks have been aided by beer. Not only has beer aided reader Brad, he sent along this hack incorporating his tall boys.
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As with all of my ideas (shoddy or entertain-able), I was sitting around after drinking a few brews and getting ready to bike to the bar (which in the winter in Toronto usually leaves you with a back full of slush). Staring at all the beer cans in front of me, I had a light bulb moment and me and a buddy got to work. Finished construction on it the next day and in total only took a few hours.
I basically just took the tall boys and cut the ends off, hammered them flat, and then riveted them together in a line. I then took steel strapping to reinforce it where the cans were joined, strung a coat hanger through the end for stability and zip tied the other end near my seat post.
Attached it to my 70's Peugeot dumpster dive and voila!
Inner tubes are one of those bike related items that can be hacked in all sorts of ways. Reader Alex from Rochester, NY sent along two uses for thick tubes meant to resist thorns.
Thorn Tube Mudflap
Cut an old thorn resistant tube (they have a little more "structure") so you have about an inch of overlap on the fender and a half inch or so off the ground. Take two old spokes (cut to size) and skewer the tube as shown in the pic (three horizontal, one vertical). Keep all the pointy ends in the inside (aesthetics). This will retain good shape and give the best coverage.
Drill two small holes about a half inch in on either side of the fender, pierce tube slightly with a knife and zip tie the tube to the fender. HUGE improvement over so-called long coverage fenders. This will dramatically reduce winter slop and salt from getting to your drivetrain. Enjoy!
Thorn Tube Door Sweep
Take an old piece of lath and an old thorn resistant tube and measure/cut according to your door width. You'll likely need to cut your tube in half longwise, set this up so the thorn resistent/thick part of the tube is closest to the floor. Pre-drill four 1/4" evenly spaced holes in your lath. Use 1.25" wood screws.
Starting at one end pierce the tube with the screw already mounted through the hole in the lath. As you work from one side to the other stretch the tube slightly to keep a uniform shape. Trim excess tube at the finished end. Line up the sweep on the closed door, secure with screws and admire your upcycling project with drink in hand.
Sometimes solutions for everyday tasks are right in front of your face. I have been around bikes for decades and never thought of this simple presta valve adapter hack. Props to reader Robert for sending it along.
Even though my commute is on pavement, my chain picks up its fair share of gunk and grime. Reader Cam has a really muddy commute and came up with a great hack for trying to fend off the onslought of mud.
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My commute is really really muddy, so muddy that mudguards are impractical as they just clog up with mud.
Now, I don't mind getting muddy, as I dress for the occasion and get changed at both ends. What I do mind however, is having a graunchy drive train that needs to be cleaned and lubed after every ride, and wears out really quickly if you don't. (Let's be honest - who cleans and lubes every day?)
So I've been trying to stop the muck from getting on the chain, being carried round to the rear mech and clogging up the jockey wheels.
To this effect I've built a mudchainguard.
If you want to make some, here's how it's done: -
1) Buy some chocolates and hide them from the kids.
2) When the kids have gone to bed - eat all the chocolates.
3) Make a template from a cereal packet. (I found that the lid off a jar of curry powder was a perfect match for my bottom bracket diameter)
4) Mark up the sweetie tub using the template and a marker pen and cut it out.
5) Offer it up and fettle.
6) Punch in some holes for cable ties and cable tie it in place - one around the down tube and one on the seat tube. Because my seat tube has a smaller diameter than the down tube, I spaced out the seat tube cable tie by passing it though a rubber tap washer.
I'm not that bothered by the colour as it'll be covered in mud after 5 minutes.
In a past entry I noted a problem with an inadequate rack. The rack needed enhancement to help keep my pannier from hitting my spokes, and recently reader Andrew also encountered a rack job. Check it out . . .
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Leaving the Hopworks Urban Brewery after an especially heavy
Portland deluge, I encountered the bike of a fellow traveler who also
chose to wait it out under their roof, over a pint of HUB. At first, these violet colored plastic coat hangers
looked like a wacky fashion statement, but eventually I realized that
they are spoke guards. Our hacker needs a wider platform to prevent the
panniers from swinging into the wheels, not the overkill of a stout,
large-framed touring rack.
I ride with a brass bell and like it, but I find myself in a damned if I do, damned if I don't circumstances. Half of the time I use my bell, people give me a dirty look. When I don't use it, people also give me a dirty look or yell at me half the time. The other half of the time in both instances, most people are wearing headphones and are oblivious to anything going on around them.
I am lucky that I don't ride around cars too often, but I have in the past and I know my brass bell likely would not get the attention of someone piloting a motor vehicle. A horn on a bike is not a new idea, but reader George came up with a rather sophisticated DIY version. Take it away George . . .
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The key component is a 3 way 2 position manual valve that can be
found in specialized pneumatics & automation stores, choose
the smallest model. Now you can select the other components as
connectors, the "T" and the air hose diameter based on the size
of the valve and it's connections. Explain the schematics to the
owner, it helps to find the best solution available.
The schrader valve I took from an used inner tube, and the horn
body from an used gas horn. To adapt those and the PET bottle cap
to the connectors, I used bicomponent epoxy glue. It
dries fast and seals tightly.
At last you'll have to improvise ways to fix the parts to the
frame, since many things can vary. For instance, I used a rubber
pad to put between the valve and the handlebar, tied with nylon
For safety avoid to put more than 80 PSI in the bottle, although I
read it can hold more.
For a long time I rode with a back pack and/or a pannier and I was getting tired of dealing with a sweaty back and/or packing constaints. I made a trip to Home Depot and cruised the basket isle to see if I could find something assist me with my packing needs.
I found a basket that fit rear rack perfectly, but the basket had a larger cousin that appealed to me more. I ended up going with the larger basket and it has worked out great. I can make the basket "smaller" by just packing heavy stuff near the front, or I can distribute lighter stuff, like the suitbag I take to work with my work attire.
I attached it with some pipe clamps and now I just need to wait for election season to end so I can scour the local trash for coroplast election signs to line the basket with.
What would you do with a little time on your hands? Reader Berto clued us into this cool pedulum clock, made from a bike and miscellaneous bike parts.
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At the Kerkrade Maker Faire I met Toon Boumans. He made a pendulum clock
bike from cycling gear. I have never seen such a piece of craftmanship
before. He lives in a small village with a special collection of 48
bikes, collected over more than 50 years.