I’ve had my beloved Xtracycle for a few years now…and it has seen thousands of miles of use and abuse in all weather conditions. During this winter’s overhaul, I realized that I could no longer ignore the weatherbeaten and damaged “footsies” that I installed with my Xtracycle build:
Don’t let the picture deceive you…these were both badly delaminating despite multiple coats of marine varnish, and I had enough wooden splinters jammed into my ankles and calves to last me a lifetime. It was time for a replacement, but with what? I had fantasized about getting a sheet-metal place make me a pair out of aluminum diamond plate, until I started pricing the raw materials and cost of fabrication. Holy crap, that was no good…a few hundred dollars?!? Then, I thought I might just replace them with another set directly from Xtracycle…but I don’t make a lot of money and a replacement set was (to me) absurdly expensive. Besides, I was hoping Xtra had started making their footsies out of the excellent recycled plastic material their decks were available in, but alas…only wooden ones are available.
What to do? I needed something cheap, something weatherproof and something easy to work with. One day, I was wandering around in the kitchen department of a local store, and I saw all these colorful plastic cutting boards. Wait a minute…what if I used THOSE to make footsies? I was onto something…
Materials you will need:
–plastic cutting boards. I used two smaller ones, but if you cut carefully, you might be able to get two footsies out of one big board
–cardboard to make templates
–a saw (power or hand saw…I used a battery-powered circular saw, but a hand saw might actually work better)
–drill and appropriate bits
–4mm hex wrench
–razor blade or sharp knife
–some means to sand the edges (I used a sanding disc in my drill, but you could use a coarse file and some sandpaper)
I had all the tools I needed, so the total cost for me was an hour of labor and less than $10.00 for the cutting boards. Win-win, babies!!! To find these tools I’d recommend checking with Consumer Reports or some of the many other sites on these topics.
First, trace your existing footsies onto cardboard and make templates for the right and left sides. I chose straight lines to save myself hassle when cutting:
Don’t forget to mark the holes for the hardware — I reused the bolts and support tubes from my existing footsies which saved me some additional money.
Next, trace your template onto the cutting boards and cut them with your saw. Drill the holes for the hardware:
With the razor blade, scrape off the excess “flashing” from the cut edges…a power saw will sort of melt its way through the plastic material and leave a lot of fuzz on the edges. Next, sand the edges and corners…I put a gentle radius on all the edges and rounded off the corners so they wouldn’t dig into my or my passenger’s legs.
Finally, attach the hardware (support tube and hook-and-loop “keeper”) to the underside:
Now all you have to do is install into the ports on the Freeradical frame and go about your business!
The cutting board material is about the same thickness as the stock wooden footsies, but it flexes a little bit. That’s ok, because my passenger is fairly light. If you were so inclined, you could cut a double thickness of cutting boards and sandwich them together with longer bolts, or find some other way to reinforce them from below (with aluminum strip stock or the like). The cutting boards come with a non-slip surface, so no additional grip tape is needed. And, these boards are strong enough to go through a dishwasher, so rain, salt and snow will be no problem for them. They’re maintenance free, and they add a little bit of colorful dazzle to the back end of my cargo-hauling beast!
We’ve got a handful of other DIY Xtracycle projects in our archive, and we are always eager to hear about projects our readers have come up with. If you are in the sharing mood, just drop your project ideas in the comments below.