There are so many low cost ways to make big impacts on your daily life and mundane tasks. The modern word for them is 'life hacks' the old fashion descriptions might have been 'time saving ideas' or 'nifty tricks'. I personally love them.
This article on lifehack.org has so many fun ones from how to lay out meat in sandwiches to how to remember who you have lent things to. Some of them are very funny and some just ridiculous. This article focus' on sophisticated life hacks that relate to urban cycling.
Below are some nifty little tricks that could save you a lot of trouble and a few pennies whilst riding your bike around town!
- Water bottle mud guard
- Plastic bag saddle cover
- Forgot your lock
- DIY phone mount
- Bungee cords
Bottle mud guard
Having a mud guard on your bike is an absolute must. But you don't have to spend a fortune getting specialised ones, you can also make your own quite simply. The main purpose of mud guards is to stop the mud splashing up your own back when cycling in the rain or on wet roads. You can make a mud guard yourself using a used drink bottle or milk bottle. There are many videos on line to show you step by step instructions on how to do this.
Plastic bag saddle cover
Saddle covers are useful to keep you saddle protected from the weather especially if you store your bicycle outdoors during the winter months. You can make your own slightly more fitted seat cover with your favourite plastic bag by following the instructions here.
Forgot your lock
What happens if you are on your way somewhere and you suddenly remember that you have forgotten your lock. Fear not, your whole day need not be ruined. If you do need to go into a shop or a meeting sometimes or you simply have no choice, you might be feeling lucky or willing to take the risk.
Try to park your bicycle next to a lot of other bikes somewhere in clear sight of passers-by. For example in front of a shop or near a bus stop. Somewhere where a thief would not want to seem theif-like in front of a bunch of people.
Once when i forgot my lock and had to get to an important interview, i used my bike helmet to make it look like my bicycle was attached to a pole but it actually was not.
One of the other common things to do is to take the front wheel or the saddle off and take it with you. Most opportunistic bike thieves would think that it is an old abandoned bike or they simply can't ride off with it only have one wheel or no saddle.
Another thing you can do is to ask a fellow cyclist if you can share their lock. It is not ideal but chances are you can get their number and negotiate when they will be back after work or errands to get their bike. This works well if you find someone who you know or someone who is likely to have a similar time frame as you. I have also taken my bicycle into my office a few times and parked it next to my desk. I got a few strange looks but it was worth it not getting stolen in central london!
DIY phone mount
There are many ways you can attach your phone to your bicycle. Its important for navigating your way around and to explore new areas with the map on your smartphone. If you are up for making your own phone mount, there is a magical material called Sugru which you can use to mold your own parts to create a great phone mount. Check out the step by step instructions here.
When you need to attach items or luggage your bike without a rack there are a few options. However, none is better than the classic, iconic bungee cord. In fact bungee cords can be a solution to a wide range of problems, once i even used one disguised as a lock when i accidentally left my bike lock at home. Its definitely worth carrying one around with you either attached to your bike (wrapped around the saddle) or in your pannier bag.
You can also buy these amazing bungee cord 'nets' that are really versatile for different shaped items. Obviously this does not protect your cargo completely especially if it is raining, but it can do the trick. If you are after a pannier bag that is also super versatile check out our rolltop backpack pannier which converts really easily from a backpack to a bicycle pannier. You can buy this here for £90 at Goodordering and it even comes in a few colours.
Do you have any other cycling hacks that you can share with us? Maybe you have some make shift solutions for punctures or other problems. Please leave them in the comments below!