Category: Gear

The Secret Lab, West Coast Division were at it again in building a new project that is not only practical, but pretty cool.

I’ve seen photos of people carrying their bikes on their Xtracycles. In fact you can even by a kit from them called the Tray Bien for about $99. But I wanted to make my own for super cheap.

Since I had and old Thule fork mounted tray that I wasn’t using, I decided to put it into service by recruiting it for this project.

First step was to get some pipes. I had some extra 20mm copper and steel pipes laying around in the lab. I inserted those pipes into the holes where I could usually fit my footsies in the front and the other hole in the back.

I then secured those pipes with some screws to prevent them from sliding out or rotating.

Once all that stuff is done, I just tighten the tray mounts and placed my Redline 925 and used the straps from the Freeloaders to secure it.

You’re probably wondering why anyone would carry their bike on a bike. Basically its an alternative way to transport your bike from one place to another. It’s better to do it this way than it is to drive your car around with your bike on the rack.

Watch this…

After seeing that, would it be wise for bike commuters to wear full face helmets? Granted I doubt you folks are dumb enough to put your foot in your spokes like the lady in the video did…but still

I did see a commuter with a full face helmet, orange vest, reflective ankle straps, lights at last months bicycle coalition meeting that I attended.

The folks from Slime recently sent some products for us to try — a “care package”, if you will, of goodies to keep us safe on the road.

I got a selection of pre-filled tubes to try out, a bottle of Slime Sealant and a nifty digital tire gauge.


The tubes went in without a hitch — and they’re pre-filled with that lovely green goop, so there is no mess to speak of. I installed these tubes on my dedicated commuter bike which runs 26″ x 1.25″ slicks. Although I haven’t intentionally ridden over anything to test the puncture resistance (and subsequent sealing) properties of the tubes, I do go through some rough areas where there is a lot of broken glass and bits of metal in the road, and I haven’t gotten a flat yet!

I also got a bottle of Slime tube sealant — enough to fill two fat 26″ MTB tubes. I treated my “Bike Snob Disapproved” Patriot MTB to this treatment, since I depend on this bike to get my son to school on time.


Getting the Slime sealant into the tubes was fairly easy — the sealant packaging even comes with a valve core remover! I did have a problem once I got the valve cores back in, though. I discovered that the cores “goop up” and prevent the tire from reinflating unless they are cleaned. To prevent this from happening, clean the inside of the rubber valve with a cotton swab before you reinsert the valve core. Luckily, I have a drawer at home full of punctured tubes waiting to be patched, so I just salvaged clean cores from a couple of them and was on my way in no time.

Again, I haven’t intentionally tried to pop one of these self-treated tubes either…but I just might one of the these days to see how the Slime works! I have noticed, though, that on these and the pre-filled tubes that I don’t have to add air to my tires as often, and I have also noticed that there is no difference in “feel” as the tires roll along the ground. I was expecting some wobbling or something, but apparently the Slime coats the tube evenly with no puddling. It pays to ride around the block a couple times just after you fill your tubes to help distribute the goop around the inside of the tubes.

Finally, I have used the digital tire gauge a few times — the tip and digital display light up for nighttime pressure checks! The gauge appears fairly accurate…the readings match both my tire pump gauge and a traditional “sliding stick” tire gauge. The Slime gauge fits nicely in my hand and has a rubbery gripping surface. Best of all, it has an auto shutoff feature so I don’t burn through the batteries!


These products are certainly worth a try, even for added peace of mind. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I devise some terrifying ways of really testing the puncture-sealing abilities of these products! Back to the Secret Laboratory — surely there’s a box of thumbtacks in there that I could sprinkle on the street?

secret lab

Riding on the moon

I’m the kind of person that will try most things at least once. When the fine people from Moonsaddle ask me if I wanted to test one of their Moonsaddles, I quickly agreed.


I installed the Moonsaddle on my trusty steed, the DiamondBack Transporter. Yeah, it looks funky but how does it feel?

I hooked my Co-Pilot trailer and took my girls for a ride around my neighborhood. When I first sat on the saddle, something was missing…. there was nothing pushing against my family jewels! We rode for about 3 miles and I quickly adjusted to the saddle, comfortable? so far, so good.

I’m going to put some miles on this saddle, so stay tuned for my full review and recommendation.