It's cold outside where I live. Not traditional Boston cold from what I hear, I have only lived here for about a year now, more Climate Change kind of cold. I hear that temperatures around freezing here are pretty mild when compared to years gone by. It is winter however and reader Matthew submitted a chilly hack. Enjoy.
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I have had a bike rack in the shed for a while so all I needed was a basket to go with it. The inspiration for making a basket came from similar storage hacks on your site.
The basket was constructed using two old fridge freezer drawers and connecting them together. I only had to remove one wire section from the deeper drawer using a hacksaw and using a bit of force they were joined together to create a basket.
An old seat post clamp was used to clamp the basket to the bike rack. Additionally a couple of nuts of bolts and a few cable ties were used to complete the fixings. The finishing touches were rear reflectors and lights on the rear of the basket.
Keeping your whip secure is important, but carrying a lock can sometimes be a challenge. I came up with my own hack for carrying a heavy chain lock, and reader Nikos came up with a hack for carrying a U-lock, some of which suffer from flimsy mounts. Nikos blogs over at Bicycle Obsession! Text and picture credit to Nikos.
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I've heard a lot about this problem with the U-lock. Their mounts are verycheap plastic and they end up useless after some rides. So I came up with this solution for my girlfriend's bike (which has a very small triangle and the mount doesn't fit). It works brilliantly and its very easy to mount and dismount on your bike. It's actually just two bunjee cords holding the Lock from touching the rack and few pieces of inner tube to keep the hooks in place. You don't have to take the cords out everytime you dismount the lock, just hook them on the rack.
Reader Martha sent in this great hack that she spotted . . . perfect for the winter recreation season.
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On a vacation to Colorado, I noticed a sweet bike hack outside a liquor store.
Someone had transformed their bike into a ski equipment hauler - they had a milk crate on their rear rack to hold ski boots, and a bungee cord to strap the poles to the side of the crate.
When I came out of the store to take pics of the bike, I had the chance to talk to its owner. He showed me how he straps his skis, perfectly balanced, onto his backpack, giving him the ability to carry everything he needs to the slopes.
He said that he uses the crate to haul beer after a day of skiing. He also said that after carrying all of his gear to the slopes, the actual skiing part always feels like a breeze, and he does it all winter long. It's certainly the most unusual bike hack I've ever seen, and yet entirely practical.
Bike racks and repair stands are among the most common search terms we see in our stats and reader Scott contacted us with yet another spin on this topic. Take it away Scott . . .
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I don't mind spending money on my bike - if it makes sense, but I hate wasting it on over-engineered accessories that can be easily replaced by something simpler and just as functional.
I always wanted a work stand, but-
1] Don't have the room to store one, and
2] Don't have the budget for one anyways.
Fast forward to my moving into a new house, and putting up shelves in the garage to store all my junk. Staring me in the face are an extra pair of stamped steel shelf brackets, the one piece ones that are approx. 12" long. Screwed into the studs of the wall at 16" on center, they are plenty sturdy enough to support my bike, so now I have a way to store it off the floor, as well as do service and adjustments - like cleaning/lubing the chain, adjusting the cables, etc.
As my bicycle is my baby, I couldn't bear to see it get scratched from metal-on-metal contact, so a well-used inner tube sacrificed itself to make grippy covers for the arms. Soaked in some soapy water, they slid over the arms with just the right amount of resistance, and when dry locked onto the arms tightly. Now the frame doesn't slide around and get scratched up, and it is much more stable when working on it.
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There are other shelf brackets out there, like the ones used in closets - they have a "u" drop at the ends to support a closet rod - or in our case, a top tube of a bike frame. It also allows you to mount a shelf on top to hold your helmet and shoes, or cleaning supplies or tools. Maybe next time...
Carrying gear is an important part of riding but specialized bags can be expensive. Reader CamoDeafie came up with an affordable options for those wanting to tote stuff around on their whip.
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My Name is CamoDeafie and I operate a VERY small tactical gear business. I had a pile of USGI military equipment and after noticing how expensive dedicated panniers and bike bags were locally, I decided to dive into my pile of equipment, and came out with several bags with which to experiment.
This is the first attempt with my father's Bridgestone MTB/City commuter; 2 Army Frames on the cargo rack with straps, and reversed (relative to how they;re worn on person), and army rucksacks on them, and a 50 caliber ammo can being used as a waterproof trunk.
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Riding it around town, I found it to be very difficult to get on when swinging leg over the rear wheel; so when I got the Leeworld Mountain Sport and 60s Schwinn Skyway, I decided to test the smaller bags I have on the Skyway, found it to be satisfactory, transferred the Skyway;'s rear cargo rack to the Leeworld since the Leeworld is my primary bicycle.
Using 3 USGI 3-day field packs in woodland camo, and 3 USGI Medical Pockets in same pattern, I have put in a comprehensive medical kit in the two small pouches between the seat and the larger bags, and cold weather cap and wool glove liners with leather outer gloves in the 3rd small pouch positioned on the stem; and in the 3 larger bags, I have 2 to 3 days worth of clothes in one, a blanket and a rain poncho in another, and a fleece sweater and a lighter outer jacket in the third.
I have room for another bag in between the rack bags, OR the ammo can, if i can find my long bungee straps for securing it without drilling holes; and I am on the look out for a specific style rear rack since the Leeworld does not have brazed eyelets for rack mounts, so it is either one done the same as the Skyway, mounted to the seat post clamp bolt location, or one that clamps in between the seat stays, above the bridge, or one that attaches to the bridge where rear brake can be mounted.
Some bike hacks are elegant and you might not even notice them. Other bike hacks can be spotted a mile away and cause your jaw to drop. I am guessing the reader Michael's jaw dropped when he spotted the following. All text and pictures are credited to Michael.
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Hornby Island is a small island off the east coast of the larger Canadian island of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The locals tend to be artsy types that live paycheque to paycheque. Typically they support their art habit and laid back island lifestyle with self-taught handyman skills.
My wife and I recently encountered this sketchy set up that appears to part of a window washing business. The ladder does double duty as the trailer and holds the extension brushes. The re-purposed bike trailer at the far end holds the smaller stuff.
There are some things I don't completely understand. For example, in all the years that I did drive a car daily, I never once thought to myself, "How cool would it be to capture my drive on film?" And yet one of the things that more and more every day cyclists are doing is coming up with creative ways to capture their ride. Some videos end up being entertaining, mostly the ones where riders get into fights with motor vehicle operators, but for the most part I just don't get it.
This is just my opinion of course, and who am I to stand in the way of interesting hacks to capture an epic commute. Reader Michael sent along the following:
The following installment is how I mount my camera to my bike. In the pictures you can see I use a upside down seatpost rack and use a used inner tube being cut to a short length for fasting the camera on my bike.
Lights, camera, action . . .
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One common question I get from people who find out I ride my bike to work is, "What about your clothing?" I actually must present myself as a professional person during normal business hours, but you would never know it if you saw me on my bike. I never ride in my business clothing. I will save my thoughts on clothing transport for a future entry, but reader Brian sent along his hack for transporting clothing without all the wrinkles. Take it away Brian . . .
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I live in a very hot, humid climate (Eastern North Carolina), but I wear a sport coat or suit jacket for my job. From May to September, wearing the coat during my daily commute is pretty much out of the question.
So, I made this rack so I can hang my coat and transport it without wrinkling. It works with a Wald folding rear basket*, which I recommend in any case. So, besides the basket, you'll need a floor lamp -- the cheap box-store variety that students tend to have in their dorms, and then throw out. Something like this. I found mine out at the curb on trash day -- thanks, neighbor!
The only parts of the lamp you'll need are the pole itself and the threaded clamp that holds the pole to the base. You'll also need a little extra sheet metal (I used the lid from a cookie jar), and some nylon zip ties. I used a garment bag with handles that loop over the pole, and a strap (originally for holding the two handles together) that fits perfectly around the pole.
I don't get depressed easily but there is one thing that is sure to cause me to despair - a trip down the holiday isle in a store. I try to avoid them, but some stores have turned to the gift store methodology and it is impossible to check out without passing through this isle of horrors. You know the one, the isle filled with plastic doodads, sugar treats, yard ornaments, and freaky looking holiday "mascots."
It's depressing to me because holidays have been co-opted and branded by corporations. A hundred years from now I think it's a safe bet that every day of the year will be holiday of some sort, and corporations will try to sell us cheap doodads to celebrate. When I first saw this cartoon years ago it immediately became one of my favorites.
Reader Assen momentarily quelled my cynicism with a great submission of a holiday isle product bike hack. Safety on the roads is important and Assen took a Halloween isle product and modified it for bike use. All text and pictures below are credited to Assen.
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I found a set of 12 flashing lights at the local Big Lots store and thought it would be a good way to make me more visible, what with daylight savings time soon coming to a close. $15 a set is the current price. Hopefully that'll drop after Halloween so that I can get a few more to play with.
My crate came from the local market $5 (which is what they have to pay the supplier). I easily removed the individual LEDs from the reflectors, drilled holes in the crate, inserted the lights and tested the effect.
Originally I had 6 in the back and 3 each on the left and right sides. I modified that to 2 per side, to include the front. I cleaned up the wire mess inside the crate by clipping and re-soldering each wire run to the next light in order to minimize floppy wires. Had I soldered a tail to each bulb and then connect to a main run, it would have gone easier than carefully combining two wires per contact for all but the end lights. After scuffing the inside of the crate with a palm sander, I then tacked down/insulated/waterproofed it all with my favorite all-around tool - Goop.
The controller (which has Off/Sensor/On switch settings) I mounted inside the crate, closest to my right hand. I sliced a stick off of a plastic pipe, screwed one end to the switch, made a groove for a guide screw, and put it all into a sleeve made from a motorcycle inner tube.
I usually leave it in the Sensor mode, which is vibration sensitive. That way, if I forget to turn it on, it usually is already flashing by the time I think of it.
I forgot to mention that the first thing I did was to rip into the controller and stop the spooky laughter soundtrack by disconnecting the speaker.
Works like a charm, garnering many positive comments - meaning I have achieved my goal of being more visible.