When in the Brussels train station, I noticed a charging station that was a bit different than what I normally see in mass transit hubs. There were three seats and you could plug in your device and pedal to provide power. Not a bad concept, especially considering the menus in most airports, train stations, and bus stations.
A lot of great bike hacks are motivated by the desire to transport beer. Reader Robert sent along this cool video of he and a friend adding a rear rack to a BOB trailer, making it possible to carry more beer amongst other things. Power tools, welding, and sparks make it all the more fun to watch. If you have added one storage device to another or have come up with a hack motivated by beer transport, let us know. Robert wrote -
We managed to mount a Pannier Rack to the back of a BOB trailer to hold an additional set of Panniers. This is great for long distance touring.
One reason for my recent hiatus was to visit foreign lands . . . strange lands . . . maybe even bizarro lands. There is this place I visited, and I am not sure if it was a dream or not, called Amsterdam. It was strange in many ways, but the most strange thing of all is that there were more bikes than cars. What cars there were respected the cyclists and did not go into a violent horn infused rage when they had to wait for more than few seconds or even follow behind cyclists for lengthy periods of time.
It was a place where small humans slept in cargo bikes while their parents shopped.
A place where bike parking took on a whole new meaning.
A place where tricycles are for adults.
A place where "baby on board" has a different twist.
And where buying a soft top convertible means something different.
And where it's hard to tell what century you are actually in.
Lots more photos from other places near and far to come. Thanks to those who have emailed and been patient during the past few months - I have been on the run and my email has backed up. I will try to catch up with the backlog the best I am able.
This is a quick announcement noting that I will be taking a short hiatus from blogging to tend to other pressing matters. We get tons of spam comments which means I have to manually approve things, so while you are welcome to comment, please note that comments will likely not be approved until I return. Feel free to peruse the archives while I am out for all the years of hacking goodness we have available.
Regular posts will likely resume in early December.
In a past entry I noted a problem with an inadequate rack. The rack needed enhancement to help keep my pannier from hitting my spokes, and recently reader Andrew also encountered a rack job. Check it out . . .
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Leaving the Hopworks Urban Brewery after an especially heavy
Portland deluge, I encountered the bike of a fellow traveler who also
chose to wait it out under their roof, over a pint of HUB. At first, these violet colored plastic coat hangers
looked like a wacky fashion statement, but eventually I realized that
they are spoke guards. Our hacker needs a wider platform to prevent the
panniers from swinging into the wheels, not the overkill of a stout,
large-framed touring rack.
We have featured many haiku contests on this blog, and reader Yvonne emailed us and wrote the following:
I enjoy your blog! I think bike commuters need more than haikus. I think
we need epic poetry, like the Norse Sagas or Beowulf to celebrate our
sometimes heroic efforts to get to work. I wrote this to celebrate my
first bike commute after a long illness. (The ATL is where I work.)
Here is her effort, and a picture of her steed to match . . . thanks Yvonne.
A gray sky ceiling shrouded Cambridge When ATL staffer starting sure-footed Cycled downhill (and walked the cycle Up slopes seeming tall as mountains).
Sidewalks succored her fatigued figure After grimly grinding into the granny gears Of her brave bike newly burnished but Unable to crest the seeming cliffs of Uphill riding onto campus.
Prudently swerving plentiful potholes Rerouting around road construction. She Many times damned Boston drivers And the havoc-wreaking Hades of backhoes Digging huge holes on Huron Ave.
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.
As we announced in October, in collaboration with the folks responsible for the Walletforphone products, we are giving away several of their products for readers to review. Many people submitted their name for consideration and I am happy to publish the names of those who were randomly selected to receive a free product. First up, those who were selected for the bike mount.
We received an email from a student asking for help to determine the viability of a bike product as part of a class project. The product would assist cyclists in carrying stuff on a bike. The academic project requires some survey information and we were asked if we could help the project receive the necessary feedback to determine product viability.
I completed the survey in less than 5 minutes. The proposed concept looks pretty cool and is something I would be interested in seeing produced. So, if you can spare a few minutes, click here to complete the survey and help some enterprising students out.