Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to correctly use a bike tube patch kit

A recurring theme in bicycle discussions is the use of patch kits to fix flat tires. Some people claim they work poorly and are unreliable, while others claim they are great and last forever. Who is right? I'll go ahead and agree with the latter, that they are very reliable and will last as long as the rest of the tube will, but only when used correctly. I think many people do not use patch kits correctly, which is the root of the problem! (Tuning up your bike and not sure if everything is being covered? See my tuneup checklist.)

Instead of just saying "follow the instructions in your kit" in an article on fixing flats, let's review a little more in depth with the most common type of patch kit, which uses vulcanizing glue (all the vulcanizing kits are pretty much the same, though I've heard good things about the Rema Tip Top TT-02).

Typical bicycle patch kit

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bike Tune-up Checklist Reference

When a friend wants you to look over his or her bicycle so they can get riding again, what do you look for? Online and in books I've seen some regular maintenance schedules and daily pre-ride checks, but what about initial evaluation of an unknown bike? I've combined the best info I could find along with my personal experience tuning up bikes for friends and family to create this handy checklist!

Obviously pages could be written about each of the items on this list, and indeed they have been in a variety of books and web sites. My favorite online reference is Sheldon Brown's site, and for a more organized and comprehensive physical book, I use The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair (according to reviews, don't buy the ebook version). This book got me started in bike maintenance so it holds a special place in my heart, but has still stood the test of time.

The work listed here would typically cost $75-150 at a Chicago bike shop, so learning to do it yourself definitely pays off.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

REI Member Sale and Coupon Code Timing

When are the big REI sales, member dividends, and 20% off member coupons? The people want to know! If you're in the market for something substantial like a backpack or tent, shopping at REI during the sales is key. I get most of my stuff (especially bike lights and accessories) at the member garage sales, but sometimes you need a specific item or size or used won't cut it. Like those other people on the internet, I've searched for the timing of these sales and didn't find anything satisfactory besides vague anecdotes. I guess I'll have to figure it out myself!

My wife had an excellent data resource available—a gmail account just for promo emails where she uses the archive button, not delete. A simple search for "REI" provided me with a mountain of data, which I present here for your shopping ninjafication.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Knog Blinder—How to Fix Broken Mounting Strap

The Knog Blinder 4 is a great rear blinky bike light—super bright, cool flashing modes, and USB rechargeable.  But the Achilles' heel of these bike lights is the attachment band, as confirmed by the repair needs around the internet. (Same issue with the Knog Frogs!) A few of these sites have hinted at fixes, and certainly the 3D-printed cover is a good go at it (I tried it and it works!), but when I had two of these lights' straps fail on me I had to find a simpler / smaller / cleaner solution.

Knog Blinder with broken strap on right side
Knog Blinder with broken strap on right side
It turns out all it takes is a few minutes with some snips, a zip tie, and two small o-rings.  The result is a mounting mechanism that works very similarly to the original but if it breaks it is easily fixed!

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