Take Me out to the Ball Game

On a recent errand I spotted this stadium related bike hack. 

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I am not sure about how safe this is . . . might be a kind of ejector seat depending on the circumstances.  

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Still, major points for creativity and how cool would it be if the person had season tickets and just wanted to have his/her seat with them at all times? Adds new meaning to having a “seat license”. Other horrible puns or analogies welcome in comments =)

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Source: Bike Hacks – Take Me out to the Ball Game

Theft or Liberation? – Post #6

In the most recent post in this series I noted that I had some left over PVC pipe after my front light installation and I pondered what to do with it. For a long time I had not really been happy with my rear light situation. A while back I installed a rather large basket on top of my rear rack and the only rear light I was riding with was attached to my rack, which as you can see from the green arrow, is not as long as the basket. The light was visible from this position, but mainly from a distance. 

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The basket construction is not really conducive to light bracket installation, however with a piece of PVC pipe, a pipe clamp and some zip ties . . . 

Rear_pvc

As with the front installation, I decided to install two lights as opposed to just one. You never know when one light might go out and with two you are pretty darn certain to always have rear blinky coverage – plus, I had the space so why not use it? 

In the last post I had also noted that those who left a comment would be considered for a bikehacks.com sticker giveaway.

Stickers

I am happy to say that I have decided that everyone is a winner. Joe, John, Ron, Beth, Korina, C Thomas, and Glenn, you all will receive a sticker pack in the mail. All but John left an email address for follow up, John – send me a message via our Submit Your Hack link with your full name and postal address.

If any readers out there have used PVC pipe or wooden dowels for hacks, feel free to contact us for posting

Series Links

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Source: Bike Hacks – Theft or Liberation? – Post #6

How to Dry Out Gloves

When cleaning my bike I like to use gloves. One issue I have is that the gloves I use, and like to reuse, are not well ventilated and if I clean my bike for a long time, the insides of the gloves can become damp, and they don’t dry well without a bit of help. Musty glove smell is kind of nasty and one method to promote drying dawned on me recently. I have a couple of different hammers and . . . 

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Placing the gloves on the hammer handles in this fashion helps to air them out and avoid musty conditions. Readers who have thoughts on how to dry out gloves are welcome to leave solutions via the comments section.  



Source: Bike Hacks – How to Dry Out Gloves

Theft or Liberation? – Post #5

In my last post in this series I noted that I had successfully installed my PURCHASED front basket, however this led to a big problem for someone who often commutes in the dark – handlebar mounted headlights are rendered ineffective when placing contents in the basket. But thanks to inspiration from previous posts on this blog, I had a relatively easily solution. I proceeded through what one might call a Goldilocks and the Three Bears progression.

I thought about this solution, which I had spotted on a bike on the mean streets of NYC back in the day – nice, but reaching the light while riding would not be natural or easy . . .

Goldie1

I then thought about this bikecommuters.com inspired idea – two lights is a concept I liked very much . . . but when using a bungee net to secure contents in the basket, the straps and lights might not get along due to the lights being close to the “loading/strap zone” . . . 

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So I settled for the best of both – keeping the lights under the basket means they stay out of the way of strapping things in, and keeping the lights off to the sides means I can reach them easily while riding. I chose plumping clamps as the means to secure the PVC pipe to the basket. 

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I love this solution as well due to the fact that you never know when your batteries are going to give up on you. Yes, you can carry extra batteries with you, but then you have to stop and put them in. Now, if one light goes out I have the other. Also, I can use a combination of modes if I like – I can have one set to constant and the other set to blink. Or if it’s really dark or the surface is really challenging, I can set both to the high constant setting. 

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To get the fit of the light mounts just right, I used some gaffer tape – not matching of course as I want my bike to be as offensive to the eyes as possible. 

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You might think the story is over, but after cutting the PVC pipe to the desired length I had some left over. This got me to thinking, “What might I use the extra pipe for?” I did come up with something and guesses in comments based upon this previous picture of my bike are welcome . . .

Gobig

 . . . and those who leave a comment will be considered for a bikehacks.com sticker giveaway. 

Stickers

Series Links

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Source: Bike Hacks – Theft or Liberation? – Post #5

Theft or Liberation? – Post #4

In the last post in this series, I noted that I ordered the front basket I had been coveting and that it “kind of worked out” – which needs some explanation. To that end . . .

I needed some other work done on my bike so I left it at the shop to have them install the basket when it arrived. I got a call from the shop telling me that my bike was kind of ready, which was a first. Typically your bike either is or is not ready to pick up. The dude who called me was not the one who had worked on the bike and said the mechanic would explain when I arrived. As a reminder, this is the product I had ordered –

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And if you notice, at the end of the red arrow there is a series of three holes which are meant to allow for adjustment when installing the basket. However, the basket that had been delivered only had one set of holes drilled – pretty strange really. The mechanic had installed the basket, but could not thread the screws that came with the basket through the holes due to a slight mismatch between the bend in my handlebars and the basket hooks. He did say that with a little coaxing, he thought the basket could be made to fit, but he did not want to take responsibility for the “coaxing”. I took a look and although flummoxed as to why additional holes were not drilled, decided that I was probably capable of making things work. I discussed two options with the mechanic –

1) drilling additional holes
2) bending the clamps to fit my handlebars

He gave me a couple of zip ties and I threaded them through the holes to secure the basket for the journey home. 

After arriving home I cracked open a beer and stared at the hooks and handlebars for a while, I decided to choose the bending option and covered a hammer with an old sock and started to “coax” the hooks. I was successful, however the bolts that came with the rack were a bit too thick to fit through the holes when I had them lined up – I could get the bolt through the top hole, however due to the bend it hit the handlebar and I could not get it through the second hole. I knew a thinner bolt would work, but that I would also likely need a washer to keep the thinner bolt from sliding through the hole. A quick trip to the hardware store and . . .

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Success. 

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However, the story is not over. I had a nice new (coaxed on) front basket, but it’s installation rendered my handlebar mounted light ineffective! What to do! Stay tuned . . . 

Series Links

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Source: Bike Hacks – Theft or Liberation? – Post #4

Theft or Liberation? – Post #3

As tempted as I was to liberate the front basket in question, my conscience got the best of me. I still remember getting chewed out by my Mom when I was a kid for stealing a toy Poopatrooper. Thanks to the power of Google, I was able to find what I am talking about –

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I don’t know why I found it so enthralling to throw toys like this into the air and watch them parachute down – especially because I am a bit fearful of heights. I do know that stealing one from a store caused my Mom to become apoplectic. I had never seen, nor have I since seen, veins in her forehead bulge out so markedly. Maybe getting caught at such a young age kept me from a life of crime. Any way . . .

The power of Google also helped me to locate the front basket quite quickly. It was attached to a Specialized Globe bike (I also have a Globe, which was part of the appeal) and it only took me a few minutes to find out that it was quite an affordable accessory.

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I try to support my local bike shop when I can, and since they carry Specialized products I made my way down to see if they had the basket in question in stock. They did not, however I asked them to order it for me . . . which kind of worked out. More details to follow in the series.  

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Theft or Liberation? – Post #3

Theft or Liberation? – Post #2

In a previous blog entry I posed this question – 

Is it okay to remove a part or accessory from a seemingly abandoned bike?

I will now elaborate on the issue through a series of posts. First, the object of my attention is displayed here:

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I did not take a picture of the full bike, but as you can see from the front tire – it had not been paid attention to in quite some time. I have never had a front basket before, and if this person was not interested in taking care of their bike, might I put the basket to better use? At this point it was just serving as a trash receptacle for passers by. Did I take the basket? Stay tuned. 



Source: Bike Hacks – Theft or Liberation? – Post #2

Park Tool 106AC Collar Hack

Off the shelf products don’t always meet expectations and this was the case with a Park Tool 106AC quick release collar owned by reader Bart. He sent a video showing his modification, and he introduced it via the following text in an email – 

I’ve been frustrated with the Park Tool 106AC quick release collar that I decided to modify my own using a ebay seatpost clamp.

I spent about $26.xx on the 106-AC collar and I customized/ghetto/hacked my existing one for less than $2.00

I figured this could make a cool addition to your site and if your users want height adjustment on their Park Tool PRS-9 bike stand…my video shows how to do it.

 



Source: Bike Hacks – Park Tool 106AC Collar Hack

DIY Inner Tube Tool Pouch

Inner tubes are an amazing product that are practically as useful when they are no longer useful for their intended purpose as when they are being used for their intended purpose. Say that five times fast.  From shoe laces, to a wallet, to a computer bracket, you almost want to ask yourself, “Is there anything they can’t do?” 

Yet another inner tube hack was sent along to us by  Nikos over at Bicyclosis. Check out his site for instructions on how to create a cool  DIY tool pouch from an inner tube.

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Source: Bike Hacks – DIY Inner Tube Tool Pouch

Customized California-Style Beach Cruiser Bike Giveaway Haiku Bonanza – Delivered

Don, who won our beachbikes.net giveaway received his bike and sent along this awesome review.

Ordering

After going back and forth with the family over what to do with our sudden windfall, we decided that we would purchase a bike with my wife in mind.  I’m not a cruiser type of rider (prefer road/cross style for commuting) and she wanted a dependable, easy to ride bike.  Winner winner chicken dinner for her.  We spec’d out “Teal Scorpion” in just a few minutes:   a teal colored 3-speeder with brown leather seat/grips, fat white wall tires and color matched fenders. 

Delivery

A short time after placing the order, we received the bike.   Nothing to note other than it arrived without drama.  The bike arrived without damage as the bike was well secured with padding and zip ties inside the box.   Unfortunately, though, the packaging wasn’t sturdy enough to be saved for future use as a bike box. I tore it easily and ended up destroying it to free the bike completely.  After a few minutes, we had a bike in pieces and a recycle bin full of cardboard.

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The Build

With mixed success, I’ve torn down and re-built a couple bicycles over the last 20 years, so I had pretty high confidence going into this process.  After watching the instructional video on beachbikes.net a couple times, we had clear expectations of what would be needed to build the cruiser. 

With some assistance from my awesome daughter, we completed the build in about 50 minutes (see time lapse). 

 

 Bonus points to beachbike.net for including a cheap stamped metal multi-tool (pictured in lower corner of disassembled bike photo).  We used it for almost 100% of the process.   We only resorted to my tools when they were more comfortable. 

If you can turn a wrench, you can build this bike.  The bottom bracket and crank arms, head set, chain and chain guard are all pre-installed.   The build only required to install front wheel, pedals, stem/handlebars, fenders, and seat (tools used below).

Teal tools

The First Ride

This bike is pretty cool, very different from my commuter.  With the fat tires, relaxed and low seat position, I honestly felt uncomfortable for the first couple hundred feet.   This changed quickly as I got used to the laid back seat and wide handlebars.  This bike was not meant for speed.   The gearing is for moving at a leisurely pace.  You know…  cruisin’.   Having never ridden an internal geared hub bike before, I was pleasantly surprised by it’s responsiveness and exact shifting.  Gearing seems low, but again this is a cruiser.   Hard to comment on the fit as this is a such a relaxed ride.  Most importantly, it was fun.

Shop feedback

I decided that if we were to use the bike for any riding, it really should be checked out by a real mechanic.  I may have built some bikes, but I am no professional.   My local shop of choice is Menlo Velo  (menlovelobicycles.com).   They had no issue with me bringing in a home assembled mail order bike for a safety check.  Rainer (owner) and Christian (mechanic) gave the build an A- and only criticized the things that were done by me. Namely, I didn’t use enough grease on the stem and pedals, and the bolts weren’t tight enough.  (Note to self:  buy a torque wrench.)   Coincidentally, the shop carried a couple townie style bikes that were pretty similar and roughly the same price.

Verdict

I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with this bike or the process. The bike itself is of good quality and fun to ride. The website is easy to use with a good variety of frame styles, colors, accessories.  The build process is easy and can be done your average IKEA customer.

At the same time, I really believe in buying from your local bike shop.  I didn’t do a lot of comparison shopping, but I believe you can get a similar styled, professionally built bike for pretty much the same price.   And the folks selling it to you will talk to you all day long about rides, and parts, and frame material, and beer, and trails, and they sponsor local teams.   Your LBS does so much more than sell you a bike.  So much, that recommending a web store for a bike is hard for me.

So…. If you want a bike and all that comes with it (like helmets, clothes, accessories), go to your local bike shop.  Buy a bike, drink beer with the mechanics.   If you don’t live near a bike shop or want a DIY project, beachbikes.net is a great place to get a bike. 

Teal built



Source: Bike Hacks – Customized California-Style Beach Cruiser Bike Giveaway Haiku Bonanza – Delivered