7 Bike Hacks to Make Your Commute Easier

So you rode your bike to work and the weather changed. You were out on the road and blew a tire. Or maybe you just want to save some money on costly riding equipment. Well, whether you have to call an audible from the office or on the road, or you’re just interested in ways to save, here are 7 hacks that can help make your ride easier.

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NEWSPAPER WIND VEST
Does your office get a daily newspaper that no one seems to read? Well, you can finally put it to good use. All you have to do is stuff a newspaper into your shirt or jacket and it will serve as an admirable windbreaker. You can crumple it up or put it in flat, whichever is more comfortable, but the more you stuff, the more insulation you’ll get. It’s a trick still used by pro cyclists.
TRASH BAG RAIN COAT
Just poke arm and head holes through the bot- tom of a regular black trash bag and voila! A totally waterproof raincoat that will protect your clothing from the rain, and help keep you warm (although we haven’t figured out how to keep those arms dry).

MAKE YOUR OWN RIDE FOOD
Bars and gels can be great, but they’re often costly, and sometimes taste a bit like cardboard. But things like nuts, raisins, or beef jerky make for excellent ride snacks (try making your own trail mix). But remember to pack things that sit well, nothing will make you want to head in early quite like an unhappy stomach.

CARDBOARD FENDER
All you need here is any old piece of cardboard, cut it so that it’s long and thin like a hot dog bun. Then just jam it in between your seat stays on the bottom of your saddle. You want it nice and snug so that it won’t fall out on the ride home. Make sure that the cardboard reaches far enough back to block any spray your rear tire would otherwise shoot all over your back.

bike hack fender
PATCH YOUR INNER TUBES
New tubes can cost up to $10 apiece, but patch kits can be found for as little as $4-5 in your local bike shop, and they can rescue several inner tubes. Pro tip: practice patching a tube once or twice
at home, so you’ll have the confidence to patch your tire on the road when needed. But, if your tire has a gash in it, a patch kit won’t solve the problem. In that case, use a dollar bill or energy bar wrapper, folded to fit inside the gash, to keep your tube from popping through.
GROCERY BAG SEAT/SHOE COVER
If rain is coming, protect your seat and your bum with just a grocery bag and a rubber band. Wrap the grocery bag around the seat and secure it underneath with the rubber band. Then, when you’re ready to head home, just remove the bag and you will have a nice dry seat for your ride. Reuse the grocery bag and rubber band (and another identical set) to wrap around your shoes and those nice leather shoes you love will be safe from the elements.
BUY USED
Cycling equipment can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Often, there is plenty of high-quality used gear out there that will cost you a fraction of buying new. Craigslist and The Pro’s Closet are ideal places to look for everything from used bikes to shoes, pedals, or other equipment. Be careful buying a used helmet, you don’t want a damaged one! Companies like Green Guru in Boulder and Alchemy Goods in Seattle create a wide range of urban bags and products from used bike tubes, banners and other recycled materials.
Bike Hacks Buy used

Griffin Bohm

Griff handles all the odds and ends at BikeLife. He is the magazine editor, helps with sales, and is the lead digital content manager Before joining Catalyst and BikeLife Cities, Griff graduated from the Leed’s School of Business at CU in Boulder, taught in Nepal, and was a brewer in Patagonia. His favorite place to ride is the Chilean Andes.

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