It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. In the bikehacks.com world, perhaps we could say that breakdowns are the father of freakish hacks. Reader Evan suffered a broken cable at a bad time, but came up with a genius field repair, provided by mother nature, to get him home. Take it away Evan . . .
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I was descending a big hill in the first mile of ~10 mile commute home from work (dark, ~30 degrees): try to shift into big chainring & it does not go as planned. Coast to a stop under a streetlight at bottom of hill & determine that front derailleur cable is severed (out of the blue, although I guess I might have seen that it was damaged if I had looked). No way to tension derailleur. Decide that I do not want to ride remaining 9 miles in small chainring (24T). Remembering that derailleur is a parallelogram, grab likely-looking stick, shove it into derailleur, and voila! Back to the middle ring. Ride home smugly. Replace cable.
Reader James wanted to incorporate two great forms of recreation into one hack and submitted this awesome post.
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I repurposed a Kiddy Karrier to take the weight of the watercraft. I just folded the canopy down and strapped it on with Home Depot ratchet straps. I did not want to disassemble the kid carrier because there are still occasions that we need to carry kids (or pizza and adult beverages!)
I will eventually disassemble and re-design a purpose-built dolly from the carrier that would be easier to remove and replace at the beach.
Saddles can suffer a lot of abuse and covers are a great way to extend the life of a saddle. Reader Tsai-Ching sent along this saddle cover hack.
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I had my bike for 7 years and the saddle has never changed. I used it for years but it was worn by the weather and aging of the material, so I replaced it with a cover made from my old backpack. I just cut the required area from the backpack, did some sewing, and then tied it to the seat post with a line.
Sometimes your cockpit is like the Blue Oyster Cult Song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." The song needed more cowbell . . .
. . . and sometimes your cockpit just needs more space for your wonderful gadgets and lights. Reader Mike sent along this cool hack for expanding your possibilities.
Cut the down tube off of the stem and cut the ends off of a straight handle bar. Replace the original head set bolt with a longer one and attach it using the star nut in the steering tube.
The Charles River was frozen for several months, but the mercury has cracked freezing for a few days now and the river is cracking as well. Good news for fishermen, although I am not so sure I would be comfortable eating anything that was fished out of the Charles. This is not a beautiful hack that might match the prose of Earnest Hemingway, but as readers know, this site is about practicality and not beauty. In the theme of bike hacks . . .
“He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and the lions on the beach bike hacks. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy. He simply woke, looked out the open door at the moon and unrolled his trousers and put them on conjured up bike hacks.
I first heard or saw the term "unboring" in an IKEA ad. I do not know if the ad firm they hired "invented" the word or not, but in my opinion is applies beautifully to various containers being repurposed into bike fenders. I have used several variations of my own over the years, and every so often a reader sends along his/her own take on this common bike hack. We have featured . . .
This version comes from reader "Formil XXL" in Slovakia, Europe.
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Yet another detergent container fender. I cut the container into 2 exact halves. The front piece is just duct-taped around the frame. The back piece is mounted on a pace of L-shaped metal attached to seat tube.
Greasy hands are no fun and as documented in previous posts, I tie an old sock to my frame or rack in case I have on road repairs. I just put the sock over my hand and do what I need to do, and then toss the sock and replace it with another.
Reader Spannerrash was having problems with chain slips and came up with a hack to keep his hands from getting greasy. The solution is effective, but those with chain slip issues might also benefit from visits to two great web sites that address this issue, as well as just about any bike related repair issue you can think of: Sheldon Brown and The Bicycle Tutor.
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I had a series of chain slips that jammed the chain in the rear forks.
I became fed up with greasy hands (that I couldn't clean on the side of the road) so I made a small hook to grab the chain and allows me to put the the chain back in place grease free. Purists will scream and groan that I allowed this to happen but, hey, that's life. The hook out of a piece of 3mm - 1/8th approx wire I found (I think its brass).
I will admit I am a total pack rat when it comes to keeping items destined for the trash bin that I believe can be used for cleaning products. Rarely if ever will I throw away a textile after it is no longer wanted for its intended purpose.
An old bed sheet? That could be used as a drop cloth for bike maintenance or painting. Old t-shirts? Great rags for cleaning your bike or other nasty spills around the house. An old sock? At all times my bikes have at least one sock tied somewhere for use as a "glove" for on road maintenance so I do not get my hands dirty.
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I can state for a fact that never in my life have I thrown away a toothbrush after it has served its intended purpose. Right now I could go to the storage area under my kitchen sink and there will be at least 10 old toothbrushes in an old plastic Q-Tip box.
The electric toothbrush revolution did not stop me either. I have used my old Oral-B brushes, attached to the unit, to clean the grout on tiles floors or in my shower for example. I have used regular toothbrushes for bike cleaning before, but I had not seen this slick hack, posted over on the Italian redbull.com site before. They linked to bikehacks.com, so I am returning the favor. Molto Bravo!
If you have cleaning hacks you are proud of, please feel free to send them along for possible posting for the benefit of all. And if you want some great advice along with a good laugh, view one of our most popular posts of all time, 13 Ways to Get Bike Grease Out of Clothes.
Okay, to start of with, one of the greatest post titles ever on Bike Hacks =)
Reader Hunter wanted to extend the life of some winter booties and sent along the following text and picture. Bootie-licious hack for sure.
Along similar lines of using tires and tubes for shoe hacks, we have also featured a bike tire patch shoe hack, an inner tube repurposed into toe covers, an entire shoe cover made from inner tubes, and inner tube shoe laces.
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The idea is to extend the life of bike shoe covers. I don't know about anyone else, but my experience is that they start disintegrating at the toe as soon as you touch down anywhere. Fine if you have a sponsor, not so great if you're just a guy going to work. Then I had this idea. Cut up an old 23c slick, flatten and clamp it on the sole with some shoe adhesive. This is my friend's pair cause she did a nicer job on it. So far I've been riding mine for about a month and a half in pretty bad weather....no signs of wear. None. The rest of the bootie is falling apart too, but that's why duct tape was invented, right?