The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

A few random ideas

I wanted to throw out a few ideas for your consideration/amusement based on some observations from this years ride.

1.Several of the pass-thru towns had set up cables stretched between tractors for riders to hang their bikes on as best they could. Usually folks hooked their brake levers or drops over the cable, and it occurred to me that a water bottle cage zip-tied upside-down to the head tube would provide an easy “hook” at the right height and no entanglement issues.

2. This year I wrapped reflective foil tape around my water bottles. This alone kept the water cold much longer as it simply reflected the sunlight rather than the bottle acting like a little greenhouse. If you really want to go all out, wrap your bottles with foil-faced bubble pack. I got some funny looks but also had cold water all day.

3. Consider a kickstand. I know they weigh something but why pay $3000. for a bike and then lay it down in the mud every time you stop. One guy, when I asked why he didn’t use one said, “In a race every ounce counts”. Hmmmmmm.

4. One place that was selling fruit smoothies had 4″ PVC tubes filling the inside on of their garbage cans for stacking empty cups. Genius. Seems like a great idea for any place selling anything in a cup. Most of the overflowing trash cans in the towns were overflowing with plastic cups.

Other ideas/observations?

7 Replies

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SFC JKL2, September 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

1: Sounds like work. I just want a cable high enough that the bike actually hangs off of it and is stable.
2:They are called Polar bottles. No foil required.
3:I have one on my bike. Use it all the time. Stands are not meant to be mounted on most $3k bikes. It would crush the tubes and destroy the bike. A rubber bracelet around the brake will allow you to lean it against anything safely.
4: I would like to more recycling bins. The tubes do seem like a good idea.

#588983

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Pdiddly, September 4, 2013 at 9:25 am

SFC, kind of ironic that $3K bikes don’t have kick-stands but $89 Huffy’s do. I love your rubber bracelet idea though! At least I have something practical to do with one of the hundreds that I’ve collected over the past couple of years!

Dalebob, I am interested in how you get your foil bubble wrapped water bottle in/out of the cage? 😉

#590016

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ts, September 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I just don’t see the need for a kickstand, regardless of how much your bike costs. If I’m going out for a fun ride, I just take my bike down, ride it, then hang it back up again. If I’m commuting to work, I park it in the bike rack at the office. If I’m running errands around town, I cable it to a bike rack (you see more and more of them these days), or to a handy light pole, tree, or fence. The world if full of things to lean your bike on and almost all of them are more stable than a kickstand.

#590168

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dalebob, September 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Pdiddly,I use a polar bottle and simply cut the foil bubble wrap to fit snug around the bottle. Then tape the top half of the seam with foil tape and slide the whole works into the bottle cage, bottle into the cage and wrap contraption around the outside. From then on the bottle comes out but the wrap stays put. Just a friction fit but it stays on surprisingly well. A few well placed zip-ties could also be used to secure it even more.

ts, I agree that in all of your scenarios a kickstand is not needed. I was just observing that during Ragbrai every available thing to lean on is often taken, sometimes 5 times over. If you don’t want someone leaning their bike (or tipping over like dominos) against yours then a kickstand is useful. I talked to one follow riding self contained, fully loaded panniers front and back, and he had a nifty collapsable rod, looked like a tent pole but only about 30″ long. It had a Y at one end and a point at the other. He could open it up and lean his bike against it.

#590338

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ts, September 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm

dalebob: I was just observing that during Ragbrai every available thing to lean on is often taken, sometimes 5 times over.

That’s true, and I can see how they would be handy on RAGBRAI. I remember growing up that a kickstand was standard equipment because all of the schools had “bike parking lots” instead of stands, and you’d just roll up, flip out your stand, park your bike, and head into school. I don’t see that much anymore. These days you lock your bike everywhere you go, which means you have to have something to lock it to, which means you have something to lean it against, or a rack to slide it into.

For me, the tent pole thing would suffer from the same drawback as a kickstand – I don’t trust people not to brush up against the bike and knock it down. I’d rather lay it down than have it knocked down.

On your #1 item, I don’t understand why the people who run those cables don’t hang them higher. Nine times out of ten, they’re too low for me to hang my bike on, either by the levers or by the bars. I don’t know what kind of bikes they’re using to gauge the height, but they’re obviously not grown-up road bikes. Your upside-down-water-bottle-holder idea help, but I’ll never know because I’m never going to do it. Some ideas are just too far outside the box for me. Let us know how it works for you next year, though!

#590339

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dalebob, September 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm

ts: Your upside-down-water-bottle-holder idea help, but I’ll never know because I’m never going to do it. Some ideas are just too far outside the box for me. Let us know how it works for you next year, though!

Actually, I won’t be using it either, as I am one of those recumbent riders who uses a kickstand. As for outside the box, I built my bike using parts from 11 different bikes; mostly old road bikes, mountain bikes and a three-speeder. Cut the parts I needed with an angle grinder and welded to a single boom tube. Bought a nice comfy seat on e-bay and a disc brake, front wheel and tire and cables at my LBS. Just over $300. invested so far.

#590341

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Scott J, September 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm

“he had a nifty collapsable rod, looked like a tent pole but only about 30″ long. It had a Y at one end and a point at the other. He could open it up and lean his bike against it.”

Its called a Click-Stand, made by a guy in the state of Washington and sold online.
http://www.click-stand.com

#590345

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