Over at the The Etsy Blog, they've got some great do it yourself projects that cost almost nothing to build. Their collection of bike related projects is really worth taking a look at. The bike headlight as see on the post photo is a great example of how to make a simple headlamp with items that are cheap and easy to find. Follow the link and take a look yourself.
Jurgen Kuipers a sculptor from Enschede, The Netherlands has created a pretty neat 1:1 Sawyer Lowrider bicycle kit. The Sawyer is a bicycle with a lowrider geometry, and the frame is constructed out of Plywood. Jurgen's got some pretty wild creations listed on his site and the Sawyer kit looks to be a fun build. How much it costs and whether or not you can get one is unknown. Perhaps with a little sleuthing you can get one yourself.
If you've ever had to swap out an inner tube or damaged tire, you are well aware of what a pain it can be - especially if you're doing it on the side of the road!
Sometimes it is easy enough to take your bike to a shop and let them deal with the headache... but that just seems like overkill (not to mention wasted money). If you're an avid cyclist, you may be saying "what are you complaining about, its not THAT hard"... but how about a child trying to change it? Even if they have the tools and know-how, they might not have the strength to pry the tire loose and work it on and off.
Here's where The Cobra Tire Tool makes their entrance. This is a new tool I recently found out about and the genius is in its simplicity! This thing is small, and can allow just about anyone to remove a tire (front AND rear!) with a minmum amount of effort.
Here's a couple shots to show you the design and size.. This will easily fit into whatever gear bag you carry or strap to your bike:
So how does it work?
If you prefer the moving pictures, check out the manufacturer's YouTube clip:
If you prefer the written word and photos (from yours truly), here goes:
Just pry the long/slightly curved edge of the tool into the bead of your tire:
Pull it slightly upwards then turn the handle of the tool downards.
From there, just turn the wheel so you can get the hooked end to grab onto your fork tube, like so:
Then its just a simple matter of turning your wheel by hand, and the tire comes right off!
I didn't experience any real problems using this tool, though I did have a small learning curve. For example, the particular dimensions of my brake setup (mostly the width of the brake pads) meant that I had to get the hooked end around the fork from the back side forward (it'll make sense when you try it out).. but it was easy peasy anyway.
In the rear, I had a similar situation. All it boiled down to is this: For me at least (maybe or maybe not for you), I found that I hae to use this tool on one particular side in the front and the other side in the rear. As I said, these are NOT problems, but simply the "learning curve". And now that I've done it once, its a quick 1-2-3 every time in the future.
Here's a shot of the rear tire removal:
And, I actually used the tool to give that little extra nudge when reinstalling the tire:
This tool is well worth the money, because:
* It is really inexpensive (at time of writing, it is $6.99 direct from the manufacturer. click here to see)
* Its as small as you can get (and still work as it does), so bringing it along is no problem at all. You'll take up more space carrying your extra inner tube and mini pump)
* Bottom line: it works, no matter your level of (or lack of) expertise or strength.
The parting shot:
Check it out at Cobra Tire Tool.
Last summer I took a different approach to biking. Instead of getting a bike to get around, I looked for a bike that I could use to get things done. Bikes used to move stuff other than people are categorized as utility bikes or cycle trucks. There are many reasons why someone would want such a bike, and they've been around for quite some time. Even though they essentially disappeared in the last few decades, they've seen a resurgence.
Donky, a company based out of the UK, has taken a new approach to the cycle truck. Just as their namesake suggests, they've designed a bike that strives for balance of maneuverability and utility by making a bike that can be used on a daily basis. They've designed their flagship bike to be an affordable option for those looking for a multi-purpose bike that can be used for multiple functions. Whether or not the Donky fits the bill and is rugged enough for everyday use of transporting heavy loads, while also able to be a commuting bike is what we hope to find out over the next few months.
Today’s review is the Smart Ass quick-fitting fender from Ass Savers. As a fan of fixed gear bikes and generally the traditional/minimalistic look in bikes, I accept that some sacrafices need to be made.
I'm perfectly happy to go without extra gears and even brakes (though the test bike today has plenty of both)... but one thing that has really sucked is the lack of fenders when I needed them!
I've spent lots of time thinking about (and experimenting making my own) how to get a quick-removing/installing fender that can be thrown on when its wet out, but hidden or removed when its not necessary (and you want to keep the sleek look of your bike in tact).... Well, the search is over. Enter the Smart Ass!
I found these fenders and were very interested to test them out, and that is exactly what I've done. Here's the review:
I have here three new Smart Asses; all the same except one for the color: Black, Pink and a cool clear one. With these and their other color options, you can easily find the one you want to appropriately match (or clash) with your bike.
These badboys are deceptively simple in design yet easily functional, which matches exactly with the overall idea I was looking for. As you can see, there are two notches with little "fingers" that stick out.. so all you do is slightly bend the Smart Ass and slide it under your seat until it clicks into place (the fingers/notches will grab right onto the seat frame pieces.
They've got a nice video showing the install/removal/hidding procedure.
You can also see the pink one installed on my bike, making it clear where the Smart Ass fits into the seat apparatus
And here's how it looks (in the black one I'll actually be using) when installed:
It's as easy as that! The only modification you MAY (depends on your seat) need to perform is to do a quick "snipping" of the "tip". I found that the Smart Ass fit properly without being snipped, in as much as it remained fully under my seat... however snipping off the tip did make it fit a bit more snugly.
Evidence that Ass Savers has a sense of humor to match their good design and concept:
And with exactly 3 seconds of effort, here ya go:
So, as you saw if you watched the video, the Smart Ass doesn't even have to be removed when not in use.. you can actually just bend it in half and stick 'er back under the seat where it stays nearly entirely hidden
So that's the look and feel... How about the works?!
Well, fortunately for you all, today has brought some snow which has made the roads adequately wet and undesirable... perfect time for a real-world test!
For clear results analysis, I threw a white tshirt (over a sweatshirt.. I'm not stupid!) and went out for a ride to see whether the road nasties ended up on my clean white shirt.
I diligently rode through every patch of snow and puddle I could find until I was satisfied and cursing myself for leave the warmth of the indoors... time to analyze the results!
Just before I headed back indoors, I snapped a photo of the underside of my Smart Ass
Inside, here are the clothing results:
Verdict:Ass: Saved! (100% dry)
Shirt/Back: Saved, but*... *As you can see, my white T-shirt does show some results of my puddle-jumping.. BUT, take a look at what the Smart Ass DID save:
So, even though my shirt wasn't entirely unscathed, it was certainly saved from the vast majority of the spray!
**I also think that the protection would have been better if I had smaller wheels (test bike has 28" wheels) and/or the distance between seat and wheel was a little different.
So, depending on your application, your seat height, frame design, wheel size, etc... your results may vary slightly, but I think it's safe to say you're WAY better off WITH this fender than you are without! Need I say more?! BOTTOM LINE:
*If you want 100% safety from spray-back, stay inside
*If you want 99.9% safety from spray-back get FULL fenders, front and back...
*If you're a resident of the real world, and you want to have your cake (a sleek looking bike) and eat it too (a super easy fender when you need it, which will save you from MOST spray).. the Smart Ass is definitely worth the dough (at time of writing: the price is $9.01 USD)!