As noted in the blog entry on April 18th, BTB Sunglasses is working with Bike Hacks to provide a free pair of glasses to a Bike Hacks reader to review. Thank you to the 68 people that commented for their chance to receive the glasses.
Random.org was used to select the winner, and in this case the lucky number was 9. That means Gentry Seagraves is our winner. Gentry, send us an email to claim your loot. We will post Gentry's review sometime in the future.
We are working with some other companies on contests/giveaways of other products so stay tuned for more opportunities to receive some free swag.
Kickstarter is popular, and you know what’s popular on Kickstarter? Bike stuffs! Check out these projects…
Juggernaut The Juggernaut will be a jig for welding your own bicycle frame. How sweet is that?
Theft Resistant Bike Light This theft resistant bike light has had some good coverage, so it’s already fully funded but there are still 24 days to go.
Companion Bike Seat Here’s a nice looking back seat for your whip, that has a locking storage compartment. Pretty slick. These guys aren’t funded yet, but they’ve got 35 days to go.
Chalktrail With a name like Chalktrail you can probably guess what this project is all about. Looks super fun for kids! Underfunded with lots of time left to help out.
Foldable Bike Fenders I know summer’s on the way, but here in Oregon it’s always a good time for fenders. These fenders fold up and hopefully work as good as they look. Almost fully funded, but still 9 days to go.
Sutro Mission Bicycle Here’s a full-on city bike that uses a internal hub for 8 gears with a fixie aesthetic. Unsurprisingly they’re fully funded, but still have 18 days to go, so you can get on it if your tax return is burning a hole in your pocket.
It's never fun to leave your bike outside, but for some it is a necessity or part of the daily commute. There is always the risk of theft and if someone really wants your whole bike or a part of it, they will find a way. There are a variety of ways to deter thieves or slow them down and as a daily commuter I seek ways that are as practical as possible.
I do have a one of those hefty bike chains that could easily be used as a boat anchor. I ride with it around my waist and it is not hard to get used to riding with it. To lock up I loop the chain around the frame and my front wheel, but it is not long enough to include the rear wheel. Of course I could take off my front wheel and loop the lock through the rear wheel, front wheel, and frame, but doing that over and over just ain’t no fun.
Some people end up using a separate lock, chain, or cable for the rear wheel. When I first moved to NYC I noticed that many people used plumbing clamps to secure their front or rear wheel (the clamp loops around the quick release lever and one stem of the fork or rear lower tube). It's a great thought, but it would not make changing a flat very easy. I liked the idea though and came up with my own security hack.
I ended up using padlocks on my rear wheel quick release levers. The perfect fit is not necessary if you just buy a small bungee cord so the lock does not rattle around. When the weather gets nasty I wrap the locks with plastic wrap to keep the grime out.
You could of course go with a quick release skewer with a locking mechanism, but that would not have the city flair a protruding lock does. Just make sure you carry the key or remember the combo when that rear tire goes flat.
Over the years, Matt posted lots of pics of NYC bikes in various states of disrepair/disrespect. Including his own bike which, though it looked like a hobo bike, was actually in good shape.
Anywho, I thought this short clip of the life cycle of a bike in NYC was pretty cool. Some folks locked up a bike in January 2011, then watched what happened. The end result is not too surprising I guess, but the clip is still fun to watch.
The subject of bike racks is a fairly common topic on bike hacks. I have panned bike racks in Boston, NYC, and Princeton in recent years. Rarely do I see a bike rack that I think is both practical and stylish. Reader Mackey stumbled upon a great rack in NYC and wrote the following and submitted the pics as well. Thanks Mackey!
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This rack was made by a local metal fabricator in Flatbush (Sinometal on Varet St.). While I was taking the pictures the owner came out and chatted with me. He was a nice guy, and very proud of the rack.
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We have all done it I am sure - we have either lost a key to something or locked ourselves out of something. I actually have a decent scar on my wrist due to locking myself out of my apartment back in the day. I tried to push on a window to slide it 0pen and not realizing how strong I was weak the glass was I pushed my hand right through it. I am actually lucky not to have hit a major vein and now I have a scar to remind me of my absent mindedness.
Reader Sebastian from Coventry, UK sent along the following text and picture, which seems to show that the rider lost the key to the said lock and wanted to find a way to keep it out of the way of his/her way while pedaling.
Saw this on the street in Coventry. Some bright spark used packing tape to create brace for cable lock on his/her bike. That is only one possibility. Other one is that this person lost key for lock's barrel and taped it to the frame to avoid collision with things while pedaling. It might be even more probable one option as the bike was locked to the rail with other lock.
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Way back in the day when I lived on the west coast and commuting was done uphill both ways in a driving rain/wind storm every day, I did occasionally use a car bike rack. The rack I used was roof mounted. I remember driving from Portland to San Francisco with my bike on the top of my car and when I arrived my bike was covered in dead bugs. I think I left them on for a while and told people I just ride really, really fast =)
Using a car rack for long trips does pose a security issue. You certainly don't want someone taking your bike or bikes when you are away from your car. Reader Thomas, who sent along the free cassettee spacer hack we posted a while back, also sent the following text and picture. If you have bike transport advice feel free to contact us.
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Here's a method to make it more difficult for would-be bike thieves to snag a bike from your vehicle. I was on a cross-country drive with 5 bikes on a rear rack, and I did not want to go through all of the hassle of undoing each and every one in the pouring rain, hauling them up an elevator, then re-securing each one again in the morning.
So in addition to using 4 locks on the bikes over night, I backed the van up against a light pole. That pole prevents someone from being able to take the bikes off the rack without moving the car or the pole... or using some serious cutting tools. One could also use bushes, a wall, or ever another vehicle to back up against. I highly recommend a spotter while you're backing up to make sure you don't crush any of your babies! You want to be really close to the object.
Reader Kari from Chicago spotted the following hack, which just so happens to be number 7 in our list of 8 Solutions to Fight Bicyle Part theft. It would be more "tight" with an inner tube wrapped around it.
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Spotted at Broadway & Wellington in Chicago. I've always shied away from a fancy shmancy seat because I would be too paranoid about it being stolen but then I saw this great hack! Granted, it would still be easy enough to cut through the chain but it's at least another obstacle to swiping a seat, especially if a thief doesn't have a chain tool or bolt cutters on them.
I made a recent trip north to Boston. Bike culture was in full effect and the city seems very bike friendly. Boston dwellers feel free to offer you own opinions with comments. I was walking past this bike in Cambridge and it looks normal enough, but when I looked closer . . .
. . . I was reminded of the confusion I felt in Princeton.
Princeton is one of the top universities in the world but readers might remember that I was dumbfounded that bike racks were labeled with their purpose. Cambridge is home to Harvard, another top university, and yet Cambridge feels the need to make sure people know what these objects are for by writing the purpose on them. So in case the intellectual elite from all over the world that descend upon Cambridge forget where they are and/or are confused by metal sticking out of the ground, the city has them covered =)
A few minutes later I did notice a rack that impressed me -
I had actually never seen a rack with a built in cable lock before. The cable is not super impressive in terms of girth, but you have to give the creator credit for something different. All a rider really needs is a padlock to keep a bike somewhat secure.
I have never engaged in a casual conversation and heard a cyclist proclaim their support for nuclear weapons, however this cyclist wants to make it clear s/he does not believe in massive human destruction.
I saw lots of pedicabs in Boston and one thing I noticed is that the drivers were all wearing helmets. I have never seen a pedicab driver in NYC wear a helmet. A Yankee hat yes, a helmet no.
And a restaurant we ate at had this awesome sticker in the window.
It is not clear if you have to wear your helmet while eating to secure your discount. This is leaps and bounds ahead of NYC however. Most business owners look at me like a freak when I walk in with my bike helmet - but I do have a helmet mirror so maybe that is why. My helmet mirror has led to some interesting conversations. For some reason many people think it is a camera.
And it does seem wise to exclude alcohol when it comes to this particular incentive. If people have Boston bike wisdom to share, we would love to hear it.