Bicycle tire tubes are the most prolific piece of trash that is generated by the bicycling industry. Luckily it’s nowhere near the poundage of old car tire waste out there. Still because it’s the thing most often replaced on a bike, people have found several clever ways to use punctured tubes instead of putting them in the landfill.

I like to keep one in my bike trunk bag for carrying things. I use the tube as a shoulder belt to strap things to my back. I’ve used them to carry a shovel, a pole saw, and most recently: snowshoes.

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Full disclosure: I like Topeak’s bike rack products with their QuickTrack system. It started with the BabySeat, which both of my kids rode in, Then I bought the worlds most expensive milk crate for beer runs. But the most versatile attachment is the trunk bag.

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I am not a gun nut, but this build was inspired by this comic and conversation:

Looking at it made me think that a similar, but more useful application of vertical bike rack storage, would be for fishing rods. Moore Lake is just down the hill from where I live, and it’s stocked with Bluegills and Bass 🎣

I made this fishing rod holder that attaches to my bike rack for less than $20, mostly from scraps I had in the garage. It holds four rods, but you could adjust it for as many as you’d like, as long as your bike rack setup will accommodate them.

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Milk crates were surely one of the first accessories ever strapped to a bicycle. It’s the simplest way to add significant carrying capacity to any bike. One of the first things I did when I got my bike was add a rack and a milk crate – but I wasn’t quite smart about it.

I wanted the crate to be removable, so rather than securing it with zip ties, I recycled some old tire tubes and inter-wove them with the rack and the holes in the crate. It seemed pretty solid, so I thought I’d make a trip to the liquor store. The problem with the tubes is they’re made of rubber, so they stretch. They stretch a little too much for a beer-laden milk crate.

When I got out of the saddle, rocking the bike ever so slightly was enough to stretch the tubes, and send my beers flying. I burst some Surly’s halfway home. Lesson learned.
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A year and a half after I purchased these bags, it’s time for a review. You can’t buy them anymore, but this is more of a review of panniers in general. I used to ride with a backpack. It works (and is good for laptop shock absorption), but be prepared to have an instantly sweaty back. I can’t walk up a flight of stairs with a backpack on and not start to feel damp 🙂  Getting the bag off of my back and on to the rack on my bike is a huge win for comfort and convenience.

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