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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-03-12, 08:28 PM   #1
Sir Lunch-a-lot
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Show us your DIY Gear

So, when commuting by bike, there are often obstacles to overcome. Gear to haul, weather to adapt to, health problems to work around, sweat to wick away, repairs to be made, and so on. While many solutions to these problems can be found for sale in local bike shops or the internet, many of us have - at one time or another - come up with innovative DIY solutions to these problems.

As someone with a bit of a DIY streak in me, I am curious to see what others have come up with to solve the common and uncommon hurdles in using a bicycle for transportation, and I am sure there must be others here with that itch to tinker and overcome problems themselves rather than go to the store for a quick (and sometimes costly/wasteful) solution.

So I am inviting you to share the things you have come up with (past and present). If you have pictures, I encourage you to share them (if not, that's okay). Describe what it is you came up with, what it was intended to solve, how well it worked, what didn't work so well about it, and what you might have done differently.




While I do not have a picture, one of my DIY fixes was to my speedometer. Somehow, while I was riding my bike a few years ago I dropped it (I know, it makes about as much sense writing it now as it did when it happened - I think the wheels must have slipped out from under me and I detached myself from it). When that happened, the mount for my speedometer smashed: there was no way to maintain electrical contact between the mount and the speedometer itself, rendering it useless.
I happened to have a couple of 9volt battery clips kicking around my tool box, so I soldered one clip to the speedometer contacts, and the other to the wires coming from the sensor. Then I cut a piece of plastic out of used plastic container (a margarine container or something) , put four holes in it and mounted that to my handlbars with zip-ties. To fasten the speedometer to the plastic mount, I put self-adhering velcro onto the speedometer and my plastic mounting plate.

It worked some of the time. The biggest problem I had was that the soldered points on the speedometer kept coming off (FAR too often). I think if I were to do this again, I would try to disassemble the speedometer, solder my connector somewhere inside the body, and reassemble in such a way as to eliminate any stress on the solder points from tugging on the wire.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:09 PM   #2
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I once posted here a thread showing my DIY panniers and cargo rack. I don't know how to link to a thread, but I think I can find the pics.

Yup. Here they are
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Old 03-04-12, 12:36 AM   #3
K'Tesh
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Made my own handlebar bag...





More detail photos below...











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Old 03-04-12, 06:12 PM   #4
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I built up this container system to carry my laptop and change of clothes. I like to think that my laptop is better off with the cardboard cushioning than it was just stuck in my old panniers. It is a lot faster to load and unload than my old panniers were. I could have bought new panniers, but this was more fun, a creative challenge, and it was free.






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Old 03-05-12, 02:10 AM   #5
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I've got this mirror attached to the base of my brake hoods. I keep meaning to get something more permanent going, but it keeps on working and I keep on procrastinating. In the mean time I'll just keep hoping I don't crash and get my fingers tangled in it.
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Old 03-05-12, 06:54 AM   #6
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I made my own dynamo lighting system, that's about it. I'll post up pics of it later.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:09 AM   #7
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My most significant do-it-yourselfer is the mount I rigged up on my commuter bikes for using a Dinotte taillight. The Dinotte 140 is an incredibly bright LED taillight, but is designed to mount on a seatpost, which creates problems if you carry your gear in a seatbag like many commuters. Dinotte does not offer a stay mount, so I have rigged up several options for mounting the light on 1" PVC pipe. The attached photo shows the light and PVC mount attached to the Carradice Bagman rack on one of my commuter bikes. I have since replaced that mount with a short section of PVC with an end cap that is screwed onto the braze-on mount on the left seat-stay on my bikes. I'll post a photo of that later.
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Old 03-05-12, 11:30 PM   #8
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@bluegoatwoods - Wow! That looks like you can haul some impressive sized loads on those racks!
@K'Tesh - I'm unclear as to how that attaches to the handlebars. Is it bungie-strapped on?
@clawhammer7 - Interesting. Have you ever taken a spill with that on the back? If so how did it fare? Is that a pretty rugged plastic container? I think if I were transporting a laptop that way, I'd want some foam or bubble wrap to reduce any shocks it experiences. Then again, I've dropped my laptop several times in the 6 years I've had it and it's been fine so far.
@keifer - The DIY mirror may actually be better than a commercially available one. I had a couple of handlebar bike mirrors before I got my helmet one: one had a convex mirror but a crappy arm. The other had a nice, adjustable arm but a flat mirror that I could not see squat in. So I turned the mirror around and glued the convex mirror onto the back and used that. Then the plastic arm snapped, but a guy I worked with showed me a trick in which I could drill a hole through the two bits and screw it back together (possible with some glue, although that was several years ago already). It was probably the favorite of all my mirrors.
@FunkyStickman - that sounds really cool. I look forward to the details!
@tarwheel - Looks like you came up with a slick solution. I can't say that I would have thought of something so elegant.
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Old 03-06-12, 07:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot View Post
@clawhammer7 - Interesting. Have you ever taken a spill with that on the back? If so how did it fare? Is that a pretty rugged plastic container? I think if I were transporting a laptop that way, I'd want some foam or bubble wrap to reduce any shocks it experiences. Then again, I've dropped my laptop several times in the 6 years I've had it and it's been fine so far.
Haven't taken a spill, yet. [Knocking on wood right now.] Living snowless in SoCal has it's benefits, I guess. So, no data to confirm or deny it's crashability. I think the laptop will do better in the plastic container than in my old panniers. The plywood is sturdy, and the plastic box has really strong locking mechanisms. With the rubber straps, it seems pretty well locked in. I hope I never have any experiences to confirm or deny my theory.
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Old 03-06-12, 09:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot View Post
@clawhammer7 - Interesting. Have you ever taken a spill with that on the back? If so how did it fare? Is that a pretty rugged plastic container? I think if I were transporting a laptop that way, I'd want some foam or bubble wrap to reduce any shocks it experiences. Then again, I've dropped my laptop several times in the 6 years I've had it and it's been fine so far.
Wa, what, you have a 6 year old laptop and are worried about dropping it? That makes it a vintage 2005, 2006, that my friend is more impressive than the DIY box.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:30 AM   #11
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Great job on the handlebar bag K'Tesh, looks very professional! I've got a similar bag from Eclipse and I love it, but I'd like to make another wire mount for modern stems.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:41 AM   #12
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I once posted here a thread showing my DIY panniers and cargo rack. I don't know how to link to a thread, but I think I can find the pics.

Yup. Here they are
Cool... But what's the electric cord for (seen in picture 2 of 9)? Do you have some rechargeable component on the bike?
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Old 03-07-12, 09:16 PM   #13
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Here are some pics of wood fenders I made recently. I got the fender stays and other assorted hardware from Velo-orange, but the fenders themselves are handmade using three layers of thin wood bent around a form and then cut down to size.
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Old 03-08-12, 07:02 PM   #14
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Those fenders are beautiful. I would like to try that some day. Well done!
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Old 03-09-12, 12:43 PM   #15
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This isn't too groundbreaking, but I came up with a rack mount for my Cateye lights. Cut a piece off a broom handle and attach with a wood screw.

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Old 03-09-12, 01:07 PM   #16
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Those fenders are beautiful. I would like to try that some day. Well done!
I agree, lovely work and an excellent look on the bike. Those must have taken a long time to make, but for sure worth the effort and craftsmanship!

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Old 03-09-12, 01:22 PM   #17
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DIY phone mount, backup charging, handle bar bag, headlight, front rack and top position brake.







Rear rack extensions for basket and bins.





Bar end extensions, small bar bag and light mount.





Bull horns



Fender extenders 26" to 700



and the list goes on
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Old 03-09-12, 01:23 PM   #18
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Few more

Stoker hoods



Front panniers from army surplus special forces fanny packs.



Bell mount on DIY stoker hoods



Bike cleaning rack made from old bars.





enough for now
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Old 03-09-12, 01:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot View Post
So, when commuting by bike, there are often obstacles to overcome. Gear to haul, weather to adapt to, health problems to work around, sweat to wick away, repairs to be made, and so on. While many solutions to these problems can be found for sale in local bike shops or the internet, many of us have - at one time or another - come up with innovative DIY solutions to these problems.
My most innovative solution is realizing this isn't a problem. It's probably more like a Fredly commuter fashion statement. Do I really need three weeks worth of spare clothing? No. Can I get by without a spare frame? Sure, it's only four or five miles, and if I get absolutely stranded I can take a bus. My solution is to not carry things I don't need. And that's made my commuting life much, much better.

But in terms of DIY home-made stuff, I have some cashmere arm and leg warmers. The leg warmers in particular are wonderful.
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Old 03-09-12, 01:37 PM   #20
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But in terms of DIY home-made stuff, I have some cashmere arm and leg warmers. The leg warmers in particular are wonderful.


Pics please.

Fredly;
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Old 03-09-12, 01:56 PM   #21
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I can shoot some pics when I get home if you'd like to see them. But their appeal is in their warmth and not their mediocre looks.
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Old 03-09-12, 07:17 PM   #22
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Here are some pics of wood fenders I made recently. I got the fender stays and other assorted hardware from Velo-orange, but the fenders themselves are handmade using three layers of thin wood bent around a form and then cut down to size.
Those are beautiful. How thin are the wood strips before lamination? Is this a cold lamination--meaning no steam bending? How well have the fenders retained their shape over time? Have you had any other durability issues--finish problems or bleaching from the sun? And what kind of wood did you use?
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Old 03-09-12, 07:25 PM   #23
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I stitched this tiny little frame bag together recently. It is more about weight savings than cost savings. I wanted something just large enough to hold a tiny lock and a couple of Gu packets for when I go out for recreational spins. This is as small as I could go.
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Old 03-09-12, 09:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
DIY phone mount, backup charging, handle bar bag, headlight, front rack and top position brake.







Rear rack extensions for basket and bins.





Bar end extensions, small bar bag and light mount.





Bull horns



Fender extenders 26" to 700



and the list goes on
+37 on all of it, but especially the hard case panniers and backwards facing handlebar bag. This would be a great bike to post on the Rate Your Fredliness thread. I think you might win the contest. Well done.
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Old 03-10-12, 07:53 AM   #25
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"Those are beautiful. How thin are the wood strips before lamination? Is this a cold lamination--meaning no steam bending? How well have the fenders retained their shape over time? Have you had any other durability issues--finish problems or bleaching from the sun? And what kind of wood did you use?"

Thanks! Finding the wood strips was actually one of the hardest parts of the process until I realized the term to search for was "thin lumber". At any rate, I used three layers of 1/8" wood. The light wood is soft maple and the dark strip is mahogany. I built the bending form out of three sections of MDF cut to shape and glued together and then I simply cold laminated them using regular wood glue and holding them around the form with two band clamps. After a day of allowing the glue to set, the wood only sprang back slightly and it has retained the shape ever since. Once I had both fenders in rough form, I cut them to size with a reciprocating saw (a band saw would have been much better, but alas, I don't have one...) and applied a layer of shellac followed by a layer of polyurethane. The fact that the wood had sprung back slightly actually worked out pretty well, since they were fairly easy to re-tension with the fender stays. I haven't had them on long enough to know how they will do with the sun and extended exposure to water, but they worked great the first time I rode home in the rain and I figure that if they wear out, I'll just build some more!

Last edited by dcbrewer; 03-10-12 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Forgot to include the original post
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