Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ivan's Repository of Good Ideas: Cycling

   Here are a few methods I've found to make life easier (for cheap!) on the trail and in the shop. 


   You can buy syringes and needles of various size in the veterinary section of your local farm/fleet store. 
   Attach the needle to the syringe and cut the tip of the needle off square. I also apply a bit of electrical heat shrink tubing to the needle to make it non-marring.

   To load the syringe, place the tip of the needle into your tub of grease and draw the plunger back to suck grease into the syringe. (You may have to move the tip around in the grease to keep it from cavitating, there's a bit of a technique to this.)

   For thicker greases, use a larger-gauge needle. Also for thicker greases you may have to load the syringe from the back by removing the plunger and packing the grease in. 

   Once you have it loaded, label the syringe with the type of grease and put it in your toolbox! This makes for an easy and mess-free way to dispense a little grease onto through axles, jockey wheel bearings or anywhere else you need lube. 

   An added bonus is that if you're working with grimy fingers, you avoid the possibility of contaminating your grease supply. 

   Save the needle covers that come with them, to cap off the syringe for storage:



   I bought a 2-pack of flexible cutting boards from my local Fleet Farm store for $1.59.

   I then used a hot nail to punch appropriate holes for zipties, and made fenders for my fat bike:

   They work great! I should point out that this is not a permanent solution, at temperatures near zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) the fenders become brittle enough to crack if impacted, so unless you never crash they will need periodic replacement. But they've proved to be an excellent solution for keeping the mud and slush off me through a Winter of riding!


   Rubber grips, like the ones on some tool handles as well as the ones on bikes, eventually become caked with grime and solvents do a pretty poor job of getting them clean. Instead of using harsh cleaners, use ATF +4 transmission fluid to clean and rejuvenate your rubber grippy parts. There may be other oily fluids that work, but I'm very partial to the pleasant red color and attractive scent of the ATF +4 formula so I recommend that. 

    Simply moisten a rag with the ATF and wipe down the rubber. Depending on the durometer of the rubber and the nature of the filth embedded therein,  you may need to rub it a bit but vigorous scrubbing should not be required as the ATF lifts the contaminants from the rubber. Be sure to remove all the ATF when you're done, as it is slippery! Your rubber will be left looking and feeling like new.     


   Here are before-and-after pictures of the rubber handles on a pair of pliers that I cleaned to demonstrate: