Do It Yourself
We wrote below a few tips we found useful for cycling, camping and everyday life when you are travelling by bicycle. It goes from the temporary fix to the more durable solution.
- The (bamboo) stick
- Threadlock to prevent screws from getting loose
- Re-using old tubes
- Temporary replacement of a broken spoke
- Install a front luggage rack on a non-compatible fork
- Bamboo mudguard
- Fix a flat tire without patches or new tube
The (bamboo) stick
Description: If you don’t have any kickstand, it allows you to keep the bicycle standing in town, camping, while you are looking for something in the paneers…
Realisation: Find a wooden stick solid enough (but not too heavy), straight and with a fork at an end. Cut it above the fork on one side, and at the right size on the other side. You can store it under your luggage rack. If you can find a bamboo (in tropical countries), it is even better!
Tips: You must place the stick at the rear side of the bicycle to maintain a good balance. Also, try to place the front wheel in a hole.
– With bamboo, it’s lighter than a kickstand
– It makes local people laugh
– Finding the good balance for the bicycle requires a bit of experience
Threadlock to prevent screws from getting loose
Description: With the vibrations, many screws on the bicycle have a tendency to get loose, especially on non-asphalt roads.
Realisation: Buy threadlock (loctite brand usually) and put a few drops on the screws before tightening them again.
Re-using old tubes
Description: Always keep an old tube wound around your bicycle frame for its many daily uses.
As seen on the picture, and you can make hooks with some rigid-enough metallic wire (for instance the hook or a coat hanger).
Tough they may last for a very long time 🙂
Tip: protect the tube with adhesive tape preferably opaque to prevent the sun’s UV to dry it and destroy it.
The same process applies for everytime you wish to strap something onto your frame : an extra bottle cage for instance.
Fastening the top of the water bottles
Temporary replacement of a broken spoke
Description: When you have broken too many spokes in your wheel and you can’t replace them because you don’t have any more, because the broken spokes are on the cassette side and you don’t have the tools to remove it or because the shop doesn’t sell the right size, you can arrange a temporary fix by tightening two broken or wrong-size spokes together.
Realisation: It depends on the case, but the idea is to tighten two spokes together as on the picture.
– Useful when really your wheel cannot spin any more and you don’t have any other options
– Hard to make
– Cannot be tightened very strongly
Install a front luggage rack on a non-compatible fork
Description: If your fork doesn’t have any holes to put a front-rack, you can still adapt one on it.
Realisation: Use plumbing collars to fasten the rack on it. Avoid the Serflex collars sometimes provided with the racks.
– Works with any fork
– Lasts for a long time if you use quality collars and screws
– It takes a bit of time if you need to dismount and re-mount the rack to get the bicycle into a box
Description: As the name indicates.
Realisation: Choose a green bamboo not too thick. Break the nodes of the bamboo to be able to separate it into thinner boards that you can fold. Fold the bamboo and fasten it as you can on your frame and luggage rack.
– Very classy and ecological
– Makes local people laugh
– You need to be in a tropical country to find bamboo. Otherwise you can still make something out of water bottles but it is not as nice nor resistant!
Fix a flat tire without patches or new tube
Description: Temporary fix of a flat tire if you don’t have anything else than a pump.
Realisation: Find the hole and make a knot on the tube to isolate the leak.
– Allows you to cycle to the next bicycle shop
– Hard to get the tube in the tire
– The knot creates an irregularity on the wheel, which you will feel while cycling
Fix a broken tent hoop
Description: If you end a windy night with a broken hoop, here is how to fix it easily.
Realisation: Cut a beer or soda can (though we recommend the beer one 😉 ) to keep only the central metal band. Roll it as tight as possible around the broken hoop, and close the aluminium roll obtained with duct tape. 2 options then:
– Strap the roll around the breakpoint with duct tape to ensure it won’t move. But if the break occured between two hoops then you won’t be able to dismount the hoops and store them in your paneers.
– Strap a rubberband (or anything else acting as a stop for the can roll) around the lowest part (when the tent is mounted) of the broken hoop. This way, the breakpoint must lay in the middle of the can roll when the can roll is stopped from falling down by the rubberband. Anyway, the tension induced by the hoops will always prevent the can roll from falling down, but it makes mounting the tent easier.
Tip: if one can roll is not strong enough, roll a second one on top of it.
– Strong fix, free and easy to find raw material
– None, it holds 🙂
Description: Rubber bands are always useful when camping: to close pasta packets, sauces, to strap something on your handlebar… we never have enough and we always loose or break them.
Realisation: You just need to cut them in an old tube.
Tarp under the tent
Description: If the tent floor is too thin to offer protection against thorns for your sleeping mattress.
Realisation: Place a tarp on the floor of the tent, inside if you don’t care about protecting the tent floor, outside if you are sure it is not going to rain.
Alcohol stove with a soda or beer can
Description: We haven’t made this up but copied it from a website. It is great. We have used it for 4 months until we were unable to find burnable alcool.
Realisation: Instructions in French: http://www.randonner-leger.org/wiki/doku.php?id=p3rs
– Ultralight, quick and free to make
– You will need to drink a beer to make it
– Hard to find burnable alcool in many countries
– Not very powerful, especially if it is windy