I recently spotted this unique solution to carrying an extra passenger. Just adding a banana seat to an existing rack seems sensible, you would just want to make sure to check the rack load capacity as the passenger got bigger.
It is common for rear blinky lights to come with a seatpost bracket for mounting, however a lot times the seatpost is blocked by baskets, cargo, and other methods of hauling. For example, this basket is on the back of my bike and it makes the seatpost useless for mounting a rear light.
Reader John, who also submitted a hack for turning a .50 cal ammo can into a cooler, was not satisfied with the seatpost bracket and came up an alterative way to mount his light. Take it away John . . .
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I'm a bit tired of how rear lights all have seat post mounts or non adjustable rack mounts. I took a small stub of 1" copper pipe, drilled one hole for the screw and a larger hole for an allen wrench or screw driver. I wrapped the pipe in reflective tape for extra visibility and I thought it just looked better than copper.
Then just attach the seat post mount to the pipe and you have an adjustable rack mounted light.
Right now it's attached using the same screw as the rear reflector, but I also bought a small hex bolt and nut so it can be mounted independently of the reflector.
I loves me some bike lights so when the folks at Xtreme Bright contacted me and asked me if I would like to review a product it took me no time to say yes. They sent along their Premium LED Bike Light, and they include a "free" rear blinky light.
A "free" product when you buy a product always cracks me up because you have to spend money so how is it free? Anyway . . .
Any light that does not accept a standard rechargeable battery is pretty much dead to me so although I am using the included "free" rear blinky, I will likely give it to someone who does not mind investing in watch batteries every few months. I have tested the rear blinky and it works great, I just prefer lights that offer a rechargeable battery option.
The front light on the other hand is very cool and I plan on holding on to it. Here are the details from their site:
Super Bright, Premium Quality Waterproof LED Light
Installs in Seconds on ANY Bike, NO Tools Required
Up to 500ft Range Keeps You Safe & Seen from Far Away
Zoomable Up to 1000x to Keep Your Path Bright
Detachable to Deter Thieves, Uses Just 3 AAA Batteries
The PERFECT Gift to Keep Your Loved Ones Safe & Protected
100% No Risk, Love It Or Your Money Back Lifetime Guarantee
First I decided to test the waterproof claim.
It passed. I left it in that measuring cup for five minues and it keep on shining. One cool thing about this light that I have not seen on other bike lights before is that it is zoomable. It has a a telescoping feature on it that allows you to zoom in and out.
When in use, it gives a nice clean view of the road - this was probably at about half zoom.
The light is built more like as standard flashlight, unlike many front bike lights I have owned. It has a round cylinder shape, a string strap on the back, and fits into a round mounting bracket that easily loosens and tightens.
One thing not mentioned in the product description on the page is that it does have three modes. When you first turn it on it has a high power mode, when you hit the button again it cuts the power down to probably half, and when you hit it a third time it goes into flash mode. I have become increasingly annoyed with front light flashing modes, mainly because many of the riders I encounter have them aimed too high, like right in my eyes high. I have thus stopped using flashing modes on front lights, I don't want to blind/annoy people who as a result might run into me.
Now I know exactly what you are all thinking - sure showing the beam on the road is cool and all, but how does it look when illuminating a Van Halen 1984 T-shirt? Well it just so happens I have such a shirt and here is the result!
So clear it almost makes me want to Jump!
Overall this is a great light that is easy to install, lives up to the waterproof claim, and I have been using it for about a month now and have not had to recharge the batteries. This is with about 30 minutes of use around 5 days each week. At just a shade over $35 it falls into line with the price of most other bikes likes and the telescoping feature is kind of cool. I have no problem recommending this light.
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.
Wires and electricity freak me out. Maybe it's that one time I grabbed an electric fence when I was young. Reader Miguel obviously does not share my fear because he sent along a hack that makes the hairs on my arms stand up. If pictures like the following get you excited, a "Lumi Lock" type hack might be up your alley.
Miguel came up with a rather sophisticated way to try to increase visibility on the road. He wrote the following:
I recently made a Messenger bag that promotes bike safety through lights, and added feature of a bike lock. Perfect for commuters getting around the city, the messenger bag uses Arduino, 1w LED, and a cleverly designed switch that activates the lights.
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.
Some lights are great, but they don't come with the right hardware or interface to mount where you might like them. Reader Mike liked his Knog light, but his bike set up did not make it visible. He put on his thinking cap and came up with this great hack.
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I have a Knog rear light that mounts on the seat post. When mounted to
the seatpost it was not visible when my trunk pack was on. Due to the
way the light mounted, there was no way to screw it to the trunk pack so
I made an extension.
1 piece threaded 1/2" pvc
2 threaded caps
2 lock washers
Any size screws will do, I just used what fit my drill bit, and the nuts, washers etc. just fit the screws. Drill holes in the caps, cut the galvanized strapping to the right length.
Put it together. Screw, washer, strapping, cap. Inside the cap washer, lock washer nut. This picture also shows it with the Knog on.
Reader Bart got a bike from his mother and decided to make it decidely his own. His hacks are documented in the text and photos he provided below, and more pictures can be seen via his flickr account.
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I got this bike from my mother who now bought a newer one and it's roughly as old as me (28) but it drives as a brand new one (good maintenance I guess).
So here's what I "hacked" . . .
I first made a small rear cargo box with some old planks from a big used fruit cargo box. You can still see the countries on the side of the box where the fruit was sent between "OHIA" (maybe Ohio?) and "TUNIS" (Tunis of ofcourse). Glued & screwed the planks together and gave it a layer of "Boat"-Varnish.
Then I've found some leather slabs when cleaning out someones basement and made some leather straps with it. They're not that strong but it's mainly to keep down some light-weight stuff (like a jacket of a bottle of wine) when driving on cobblestone roads. They are screwed in place as you can see in the pictures.
Then I also made a small container out of a used silicone glue tube (for latex gloves when the chain slips off, an extra strong strap for holding down larger stuff & a plastic shopping bag).
The "lid" or "cap" is just a spray paint cover that slides over the container. The red tape makes sure the container is the right diameter so the cap/lid is kept tight on.
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Because I also had a wheel with a built-in generator laying around I replaced the entire electronics. I first made a small box containing 4 rechargeable batteries that get charged by the generator. They also give power to the front & backlight when the switch is turned "ON."
Then I also replaced the light bulbs from the old lights with high energy LED's. (I kept the lamp frames because they are old looking and fit the bike type & also they are not that attractive to thieves instead of brand new shiny LED lamps).
This way my lights will never fail because of empty batteries and they will keep burning even when I'm standing still (in front of a red light for example).
I live in a city where cars are king so they don't pay much attention. This way by keeping my light on when standing still I don't risk not getting seen by the cars.
And at last I made a simple chain guard with an electric cable tube I still had laying around (seen this example many times already) and it works fine. I first had a chain guard that fully covered my chain and this is just terrible for when the chain slips of and you have to put your chain back on.