Category: How To

The BikeCommuters.com 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.

Check out what my buddy Ben C. made for his commuter rig. It’s made out of PVC.

It’s wide enough for a brief case, back pack or a pizza box.

It’s strong enough where his 10 year old son rode on the back of it.

If you want the plans for this bad boy, just email Ben directly HERE
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One of the problems I consistently run into while bike commuting revolves around hunger. I have a sizable breakfast every morning before I get ready to leave my place. I pack a good lunch with a few smaller snacks to make sure I have enough to eat during the day. But I always hit a morning snag. I have tried eating a larger breakfast before I leave for work, but then my stomach is way too full and it is uncomfortable while on the bike.

And then I thought of a solution – bring a smoothie. But that brought up a new problem – how to keep it cold. Finally, I feel I have solved this problem.

This morning, I made a smoothie as I prepared my lunch for the day and poured it into one of my many water bottles.

While I finished getting ready for my morning commute, I put the water bottle in the freezer. Once I was ready to go, I grabbed the bottle and dropped it into my insulated water bottle holder that I picked up at a local REI store. These things are a great investment, especially if you spend any amount of time outdoors in the summer – or if you just live in Arizona.

Once I got to work this morning, I pull out the water bottle, and my smoothie was still frozen like a smoothie should be. It made for a great morning-starter instead of the usual coffee.

I recently swapped out my other bars on the Xtracycle because I needed them on my tandem. So I went with this beach cruiser bar that I had. But the only problem was that it was way too big. When ever I had to get on or off the bike, my leg would get caught.
xtracycle

So what I did was cut down the bars about 7 inches on each side…right where the bars started to bend. I reinstalled the grips and place the bar on the Xtracycle.

I then took the excess portion of the bars that I just cut and made them into footsies.

When I drilled the hole into the footsies, I tapped it and installed a screw to prevent it from falling out or moving around too much. I then installed some grips that I had laying around.

Last year, I had the opportunity to write a how-to article for the good folks over at C.I.C.L.E. Since then, I have amassed a small collection of hardware (about $15.00 worth) that makes a truly universal homemade headset cup press and crown race installer.

The parts of my handy dandy headset press:

The parts of the basic press include a selection of large washers, a piece of 3/8″ threaded rod (sometimes referred to as “allthread�?), a pair of flange nuts and two thick nylon washers to reduce friction between nuts and press-washers.

Don’t forget the nylon washers — it makes things a whole lot smoother:

As in the previous article, I must set out this disclaimer — I didn’t invent this…the concept of a homemade cup press has been around for a long time. I’ve seen versions using only washers and versions using sections of PVC pipe as cup adapters. However, I have discovered a piece of hardware in the plumbing department of my local home-improvement store that really makes this setup a piece of cake to use — some type of copper reducing fitting. Here is the heart of my system:

These little beauties taper down from about 2″ down to about 7/8″. Since they’re made of copper, they are way softer than the typical cups you might find in a vintage or modern headset — even lightweight aluminum cups. And, they are universal — they’ll fit the tightest vintage 1 inch threaded headset…oddball 1 1/4 inch headsets from the mid 90s…modern 1 1/8 inch headsets…heavy-duty One Point Five downhill headsets…even old one-piece bottom bracket cups (Ashtabula) found on cheap beach cruisers and old BMX bikes!!

The press is set up like this: grease up and place the headset cups in the top and bottom of the frame’s headtube. Grease and insert the copper fittings and stack appropriately-sized washers on top of those copper fittings. Pass the allthread through the headtube, slip the nylon washers down onto the washer stacks and thread on the two flange nuts. Here is a picture of how the assembly should look:

Then, it is a simple matter of cranking the nuts down with an appropriate wrench (sometimes you will need two wrenches if the cups are really tight). The copper fittings help to keep the headset cups straight as they enter the headtube. Go slowly — sometimes the washer stacks will slip to one side and they should be pushed back into place with your fingers. Crank those cups in until they bottom out and you’re done!

Now, all that remains is to assemble the rest of the headset and ride away into the sunset…but wait! What do you do about those stubborn fork crown races? Well, back to the plumbing department — you’ll need a length of PVC pipe and a plastic endcap. Bring your fork with you to make sure the pipe fits over the steerer. I wound up using a piece of 1 1/4″ thinwall pipe for this fork. Wrap the bottom 2 inches of the pipe with electrical tape to keep it from splitting, slip the crown race down, slip the pipe on and pound it down with a hammer like so:

When the bottom of the pipe becomes mushroomed and beat up from pounding, simply saw off a half-inch and rewrap with tape. I’ve used this same pipe for about 10 headsets…it’s steadily getting shorter, but the whole thing only cost about a dollar. Remember also that if you have to hit the pipe more than 5 or 6 times to seat the crown race, it’s better to take the race off and “dress” the base of the fork’s steerer with a needle file to remove excess paint and weld splatter — the crown race should just pop on and should NOT require brute force.

There, you’ve saved a bunch of money by doing it yourself — no expensive tools required, no trip to the bike shop. Doesn’t that feel great?

MtnBikeRiders.com