Category: How To

As you may know, life tends to throw us a few changes here and there. One of the major changes I’ve had to deal with was having to work out of my home. My office used to be about 8 miles away and I’d commute there with my bike. But now that my commute is literally a few steps away from my bedroom, I surprisingly get more riding done now than I did in the last 4 years.

Not sure if you know what it’s like to work from home, but you can get a bit of cabin fever. I know for myself I need to get out once in a while, interact with people, breath fresh air and get some sun. If you can relate to any of those, then here’s some things that I do to help me get my bike “fix” on.

1. I often have meetings at Starbucks about 2 miles away. I’ll hop on my bicycle and ride there. In fact I once took the sidecar to my meeting and my client was so impressed by this machine. However, I couldn’t convince him to go for a ride with it.
bicycle sidecar on

2. I go out for lunch. I’m in between Downtown Brea and Downtown Fullerton, so that means I’ve got plenty of choices to eat at. I also will arrange lunch dates with various friends who work or live in the area.

3. I run errands with my bicycle. If I’m out of ink for my printer or need more coffee beans or have to run to the bank, the bicycle is much easier than having to use my motorcycle or car. I actually use my motorcycle quite a bit. I do so when I have to run longer errands. But doing so poses it’s own challenges. With a motorcycle, I have to get on all my riding gear, get it out of the garage, make sure there’s gas and by the end of it, I smell like fumes…but it’s still better than having to take the car around town.

4. Just get out. Sometimes you don’t need any other reason to get out there and ride. Many times I find myself stuck…you know like writer’s block. So to get my mind flowing again, I get on the bike and ride around for about 10-15 minutes. It’s kinda like how dryer sheets help Tina Fey’s writing…

So if you work from home, you can still be a bike commuter. Just find ways to use your bicycle when you have to get out of your home.


Ever find yourself in a pickle like this:

You’re at the farmer’s market with your so-called girlfriend getting all carried away with sampling apples, debating pumpkin varieties, and haggling over prices of buckets of yogurt.  A mere 40 minutes of local-food perusing and $30 later, your limbs are loaded down with re-usable grocery bags like nobody’s business.  Good thing I spent all those evenings bouldering and I have tons of finger strength for lifting groceries, because lord knows there is no other reason for all that finger strength…! Oh yeah, and you borrowed your friend’s roommate’s bike and there’s a good 25 minute ride ahead of you.

What to DO, Bike Commuters?!

Not an unlikely situation if you are visiting your friend, Mo, in DC, the same weekend as the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, and you are a veteran Pike Place Market veggie hawker like me. The combination is ruthless. You end up with two enthusiastic cycle ladies in a pile of vegetables, and a rear rack with bungees is just not gonna cut it. Damn those floppy cloth bags and that pumpkin! Yes, we bought a pumpkin, hauled it, cooked it, and ate it like the good green-blooded NorCal hippies that we are.


Anyway, the solution for the Farmer’s Market overload?

Enter the last-minute Veggie Hauling No-Brainer DIY Box ‘n’ Rack. Recipe below:

Prep Time: 20 minutes for collecting ingredients

Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • (1) plastic cube/crate free from the bread vendors
  • (6) removable neon zip ties from the CVS across the street
  • (1) existing rear-mounted bike rack
  • (2) opposable thumbs
  • (1) friend, also with (2) opposable thumbs




  • First, sit on your bike saddle and have a friend with opposable thumbs position the crate  with a couple inches of clearance for your bum, so you don’t end up crowding your bum with the Box ‘n’ Rack as you pedal. Center the box on the rack.
  • Second, have said friend hold the rack in place, as you zip tie the hell out of it in 6 different places from the bottom of the rack to permanently secure the crate.
  • Third, throw in your veggie bag and pedal on home, without grocery bags swinging from the handle bars!




The DIY Box ‘n’ Rack is such a no-brainer, almost any farmer’s market/flea market-goer can pull it off in a matter of minutes. So worth the minimal effort for no dangerous swinging bags of groceries near your front wheel on the bike ride home.

Try it, you’ll like it!



So the other day it was raining here in SoCal. It gave me an idea on treating my frame with some Rain-X. If you’re not familiar with this product. You usually apply it on your car’s windows to act as a water repellent. It works much like how a duck’s feathers with water…simply beads off of it.

I figured, why not use it for my bike…so I spot treated one of my frames to see if there would be a benefit to it. Here’s what I got.

This frame was treated with Rain-X
rain-x on bicycles

I poured water on it to see if it would work. No water on the treated area.

Here’s an untreated frame with water being poured.

Water is doesn’t bead off like the treated frame.

So what’s the point of this? Well if you live in a rainy area, it might help keep water off your bike. But one thing you need to keep in mind, Rain-X is made out of denatured alcohol, which means it can harm some surfaces. Best thing to do is try it in small areas first before treating your whole bike.

If you’ve been following this site over the last few years, I’ve mentioned sidecars more than a few times. You see, I grew up in the Philippines and for the most part, families that didn’t have a car usually would have a sidecar. It basically acted as a form of transportation. In addition, you can hire a sidecar for a few pesos to get you from point A to point B.

Now that I’ve been in America for a few decades, I’ve been daydreaming about a sidecar to add to my collection of bicycles. So, when my mom decided to visit the Philippines over the summer, I asked her if she could see about bringing back or at least shipping a sidecar back to the U.S. During her trip I received messages from my uncle who was overseeing the project. He sent a message with just a photo:
The next message I received was from my aunt who stated that when my mom arrived back in the U.S., someone will need a van or a truck to pick her up because of the sidecar. At first I thought they were just pulling my leg, but sure enough my mom had come through!

So when I received the sidecar (thanks mom!), it looked liked this:
I then mated it with my daughter’s old Manhattan Hotrod:
There’s one problem with the sidecar setup; if you’re the driver, it’s wicked tough to pedal. It’s doable, but it’s hard. The small cranks on the hotrod didn’t help either. In fact, when Jack was in town for Interbike, we rode it around the neighborhood and he too felt the weight of the beast. So then I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if this was electrified?!?” So I contacted Bike Mike at Leed Bicycle Solutions. He provided the project with a custom made 8Fun electric motor mounted a 20″ wheel combined with a 10.4 Ah Li-Ion Battery powered by Samsung.
samsung electric bike
Then I equipped the sidecar with a set of matching LED spoke lights by PBLights
The modifications didn’t stop there. In fact, I was far from over. One thing I wanted to do was make sure that the sidecar/bike had matching colors. Since the Hotrod had a great orange color to it already, I decided to go with that same scheme. So I took it to Specialized Powder Coating in Huntington Beach. I chose “Safety Orange.” About 10 days later, this is what I got back. Not bad eh? The color came out so nice, I couldn’t believe my eyes!
When I got home that morning, I started reassembling the machine. Pressing cups, tightening bolts, etc. In about 2 hours, the bike was complete! Oh but before I show you the final product, I have to mention that our very own Jack Sweeney sent me a large roll of vinyl as my Christmas present. So I went ahead and redid the upholstery on the the bike seat, seat pad and back rest on the sidecar.
Ok so here’s the fully assembled sidecar/bike, sans the battery pack:
We’ve done a number of projects on BikeCommuters and over the years, but I have to say that this has to be one of my favorites that we’ve done. Anyone who rides the sidecar immediately falls in love with it. Not only was it fun to work on it, but my own daughter and I have had countless hours riding this thing around. In fact, she loves taking her friends on it and cruising the neighborhood. Heck, just this afternoon, we rode up to the local school and I asked the kids who were there if they’d like to have a drag race.
These kids didn’t have a chance! Ya I know that I’m a grown man and I was riding a sidecar with an electric motor, but still, I won!
For now the sidecar project is done…well not really. Now I’m focusing more on accessories. I want to get cup holders and possibly building some sort of canopy for it or even a wood floor.

My office has a plethora of bikes that live full– or part–time in the warehouse. This small fleet of communal cruisers and commuter bicycles needed an organized home rather than randomly strewn about the room.

Luckily, we have a couple of industrious fellas who took on the task of building a bike rack with limited funds, two wooden pallets, and an hour to spare. Now we’re sharing with you the step-by-step guide on how to build your own hanging bike rack.

Build Your Own Bike Rack



  • Two ~6’ tall wooden pallets (or five 6′ 2x4s, plus one 8′ 1×6 and one 8′ 1×4)
  • Wood screws (We used Grabber screws #8 x 2.5” and #9 x 3”)
  • Bicycle or storage hooks


  • Power drill
  • Power saw
  • Hammer

BYOBR Equipment

Building buddy!
Grab a friend or two. The building will be easier, safer, and more fun with a friend.

BYOBR Parker & Will

Carefully disassemble the two pallets and remove all nails––this is where the hammer comes in handy. Group the pallet lumber into similarly sized pieces. All the longest, sturdiest pieces (the 2x4s) will form the frame of the bike rack.

BYOBR Wood Pallet Parts

BYOBR Pallet Pieces

Construct the frame using five of the 2x4s. You may need to trim some of the lumber to size as Will & Parker did for our bike rack.


Secure each corner with two long wood screws.

BYOBR Building Frame

The bottom beam usually needs to be the flattest, least likely to wobble; however, the bottom beam on the rack built by Parker & Will was warped. Gotta work with what you have.

You should now have a large rectangle. Place the third and remaining 2×4 directly in the middle between the two outer columns. You can see how carefully Will measures the distance using the highly-scientific “counting-his-steps” method.

BYOBR Measuring Frame copy

You may need to trim the lumber to size. Secure the middle column with two screws at either end.

BYOBR Building Frame 2

BYOBR Frame Raised

Give this rack some feet to stand on! Secure a 1×6 to the base of the outer columns with four screws each.

BYOBR Adding Feet

BYOBR Adding Feet 2

Bracer. Create a stabilizer for each foot––’cause you know triangles are the strongest shape (I learned that in 3rd Grade).

BYOBR Feet Added

Parker identified the angle for the cut by holding the 1×6 in place and marking with his favorite mechanical pencil. Super sophisticated stuff here.

BYOBR Measuring Cuts

Trim each stabilizing piece along the identified angles, so that the edges are flush with the frame.

BYOBR Preparing Cuts

Secure each brace with a couple screws.

BYOBR Adding Stabilizers

BYOBR Stabilizers

More stabilizers! Add a small 1×4 stabilizer at each corner of frame for added stability. That’s four in total, if you’re counting.

BYOBR Top Stabilizers

Measure and cut the smaller stabilizers using the same method in Step Five. IMPORTANT: Don’t place your stabilizers too far into the frame or they may obstruct how your bikes hang. Secure with the smaller length screws.

BYOBR Parker Drilling

Lookin’ good! You’re almost there.

Evenly space four bicycle hooks into the frame. Leave plenty of elbowroom for your bikes’ handlebars. Hint: it helps if you drill a starter hole before screwing the hooks into place. (Look at the teamwork happening!)

BYOBR Will & Parker Adding Hooks

Hang up yo’ bikes! Stand back and admire a job well (and economically) done.

BYOBR Will hanging up bikes

BYOBR Completed Bike Rack

BYOBR Completed Bike Rack 2