Statistics surrounding the production, usage, and disposal of plastic bottles are alarming. In 2009 it was estimated that 1,500 plastic water bottles were consumed every second in the U.S. All those plastic bottles provide raw materials for creative minds, and reader Nikos, who blogs over at Bicycleobsession, sent along the following . . .
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I'm sending a beautiful hack I've done with two plastic bottles I
found on the side of the road and a hanger. It's a virtually
indestractible fender, light as feather and free as air.
The most sophisticated, durable, efficient, simple, discreet, reliable, unique, soundless (not more clanking), light, eco-friendly, good looking bicycle fenders in the world. And they are free.
There once was a lonely tandem bicycle, longing for a partner. An old hobbled shopping cart was lonely as well. Thanks to the work of reader Joel, these two were able to get together and have a beautiful relationship. Cue the romance music . . .
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I made a basket out of a shopping cart for a tandem bicycle.
I welded a cut cart to a seat post for the rear, and now we can go get groceries easily! Always get tons of thumbs ups, some people even asked if I bought it online. Nope!
The cart was from a local store (asked the manager for one with a busted wheel). picked it up with a normal bike and rode home dragging it along side of me, very noisy but got it home!
A seat post for the mount, welded braces to help support the load. The seat post is locked in place normally so you can remove the basket and re-attach the rear seat. The basket was designed to fit between the rear rider's handlebars so the basket does not spin.
The cart was shortened so it was not so tall. I had to weld rebar across the front of the basket so the cart's door would stay in place.
When I ran this idea past friends we all thought it would be too top heavy, hard to balance with all the weight, etc. Turns out it is very stable and centered, and even with heavy loads you barely know you have 20-50lbs back there.
I've transported simple stuff like food, but more challenging things like a drill press, large postal boxes, tool boxes, guitar amp, among other things.
Some carts come with cup holders near the handle, so I took that cup holder and attached it to the handle bars. Took the scrap pieces from the cart and recycled them as well.
We live in Missoula Montana, a very bike friendly city so we always opt to ride when possible to run errands.
We call this bike the TRUCKFIGHTER, and it's tough!
In both NYC and now in Boston, I see a lot of trash. A lot of it ends up in bins or cans, but some just gets tossed out in the open for trash collectors to pick up. Occasionally I have thought about incorporating discarded goods I see into a bike hack of some kind, but I never have. Reader Daniel spotted a possible piece of trash repurposed for bike use.
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I wanted to share this hack I spotted in Helsinki, Finland. I still have my own bike under construction, but will submit again, when it´s time for them. Front basket hack. Mounting plate made of hard drive enclosure.
The floodgates on repurposing bike items into office knick knacks seemed to open when Keith submitted a presta valve headset hook, and shortly thereafter Arron submitted a chain ring coaster. Now reader Ilan has a way to keep track of time . . .
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I bent a brake disc horribly out of shape the other day. After I pulled it off my bike, I decided to give'r a wipe-down, bought a cheap clock from the dollar store, pulled out the internals, glued the disc to the clock's motor and reattached the hands.
A couple of bolts through the cross-drilled holes and it's eben good to go. It's not the most beautiful object ever created, but it's functional and looks good on my office desk. Version 2.0 will use deep nuts glued to the clock motor and the disc will be attached by bolts.
Want to mount your smart phone on your bike but don't want an out of the box product. Reader Brendon has an excellent solution.
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I wanted to mount my iPhone to my handle bars so I could use GPS, listen to music, and read bikehacks.com on my morning commute but was not willing to pay 30 dollars for a holder.
I drilled 4 holes in a plastic light switch cover, zip tied it to my handle bars with a small piece of handle bar tape underneath the zip ties to keep it snug to the bars, put Velcro on the switch cover and the loop side on my iPhone case. It works incredible, and the only thing wrong with it is I sometimes forget to take it in to the grocery store and leave my phone on the bike. I have even face timed my kids across the country while riding. Oh, it cost nothing, maybe would cost $4 or $6 dollars if you had none of the parts laying around.
1 plastic light switch cover, 2 zip ties, bar tape scrap (other substitutions can be used), Velcro, smart phone.
Small drill bit, and a drill(a pocket knife may even work)
Drill 4 holes in the light switch cover big enough to put the zip ties through.
Clean switch plate cover with alcohol, or whatever else you have that cleans. Dry it. stick on the the hook side of the Velcro. The self adhesive works great if your surface is clean. Repeat with the loop side of the Velcro to your smart phone or smart phone case.
Take bar tape scrap or other cushion material and cut to fit in between the light switch cover and the handle bar. I use 2 pieces, one under the mount, an the other on the bottom side of the handlebar to keep zip ties from slipping.
Feed zip tie through drilled holes, and zip tie to handle bar. Cut extra off.
Total cost for me, zero. Had everything in the garage. Light switch covers are less than 2 dollars, you can steal it from your apartment. Velcro is cheap, and available anywhere. Spring for the Velcro brand "expensive" stuff from the hardware store. Probably less than 4 bucks. Zip ties; buy a bunch, they come in handy and everyone should have them around anyways.
This design has been through over 100 miles of crappy pavement and a little off road with zero issues of slipping, looseness or breaking. The Velcro works great and the self adhesive is holding as good now as when I was initially put on.
One thing I miss about living in NYC is the food delivery culture. Not a day would pass where I did not see some clever hacks employed by the fleet of intrepid bike delivery riders. Reader Adam sent along the following hack employed by what appears to be a delivery food rider in Toronto. Adam's submission reminded me a bit of when I used a steak knife to adjust my disc breaks. Take it away Adam . . .
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I was locking up my bike in Toronto's Chinatown when I saw this awesome fix to a slippy front derailleur.
At first I was taken aback. Who stabs a bike with a yellow pencil? Then it struck me: that pencil is driven into the space between the front derailleur and the hinge! An erstwhile pedestrian writing instrument effectively locking it in place. The owner was nowhere to be found but it looks precisely like one of the bikes which local food delivery guys will sometimes ride into the ground.
Given it was parked outside one of these restaurants I have to wonder if some food delivery guy, frustrated with his front derailleur shifting out of position, for the last time just stabbed the offending part with the pencil behind his ear and came up with an impromptu fix.
Showing some style at work can be cool, as demonstrated by reader Keith who submitted the following . . .
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Filed within the category of "what-to-do-with-this-old-tube," and when you've already made a wallet, a box of tire boots, swimming pool patches, MagLite holders, and sweet pro-wrestler-style bicep bands: if you work in a call center or any office that supplies headsets for your desk phones or VoIP system, I present another use for your discarded inner tubes: the headset hook.
The product of conference-call boredom yielded this really simple, yet effective and stylish, use for the Presta valve section of an inner-tube:
Use scissors (or ceramic diving knife -ha!-) to cut out the valve-stem section of the inner-tube, leaving about 2cm on either side of the valve itself. I then used two "T-pins" (basically long push-pins with a t-shaped metal head) to hang it from our standard-issue cubicle foam-board section. Should work similarly on any cork-board, or, into drywall with a good staple-gun or picture-frame nails.
I pushed the t-pins through the tube on either side of the valve. The pins should protrude through the back of the inner tube and into the cubicle foam-board. I positioned the pins along the upper edge of the tube itself, pointing downward at an angle into the foam-board, to allow the tube section below the pins to provide cantilevered support for whatever ends up hanging from the protruding valve-stem. Placing the pins too low would result in a sagging, sad, and floppy "hook."
The resulting "hook" likely won't hold anything heavier than a few ounces, but, for my headset it's perfect. Though I don't have photos of the sturdier version, you can produce a hook which carries far more weight by removing the valve from the tube entirely and affixing it through a hole drilled through a thin strip of metal stock, using those leftover Presta-valve nuts. This works best with extra-long valve (60mm) tubes.
Anything is possible - but, be sure to use the also oft-discarded Presta-valve cap, to avoid snagging any clothing you might hang from them. If you envision several extra-long Presta-valve "hooks" affixed and spaced evenly through a 4 foot wide section of 1/2" thick stained walnut, you could really dress up an otherwise boring bike-shop employee coat-rack, or something for the back of the closet door in the "man-cave." When I get around to that, I'll re-post with results!
For now, for my headset, this light-duty, simple re-purpose of the Presta-valve section of my latest trashed inner-tube keeps my headset out of the way, and adds a subtle "cyclist-works-here" touch to an otherwise stark corporate cube-space. A functional conversation piece!
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.
I have not truly mountain biked since the early 90s. I do remember mud being an issue (I grew up in Oregon after all) and Lewis sent along the following hack to help fight crud.
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Instead of throwing away a badly worn tyre, fashion a "crud catcher" from it.
Fancy neoprene ones cost upwards of $20++
A discarded old tire cut to size (using cable cutters to gnaw through beads) and normal scissors. Zip tie it to the suspension arch and upper stanchion mounts. I made this.
All thats needed.
1. Old tyre
3. Cable cutter
4. Zip ties.
Its not pretty, but it works VERY WELL! It lasts much longer than inner tubes. A larger version of the same picture above is available here, and an alternative view here.