Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: GCharles on December 20, 2010, 05:15:07 pm

 
Title: DIY Tips
Post by: GCharles on December 20, 2010, 05:15:07 pm
As the end of the year approaches and lots of folks are planning their first long distance trip for 2011, I thought it would be nice to share DIY tips with everyone.  I have been tweeting about this topic and thought I would bring it here as well.  An example:

I use lots of Olive Oil on my long distance treks, but hate carrying glass bottles.  So I discovered the the .5 and 1 liter Platypus hydration bladders work great.  They are BPA free, compress down to nothing as you use up the oil, and are virtually indestructible.  Plus, a little warm water and soap washes them out after you are worried that they might be getting  little grimy.  So, how about you, any tips?

I will compile a list and put it up on my wabisabiyourlife.com site as an example of how you can save money by doing it yourself.

Happy Holidays,

Glenn
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: johnsondasw on December 20, 2010, 09:38:30 pm
Good idea, to share tips!

Helmet starting to stink from hundreds of sweaty rides ?  Bring it into the shower with you, shampoo your hair, put the helmet on and rub it around gently (so as not to unglue all those little padding patches), take it off and rinse it and it's good for many more rides. 

Another one, always carry some zip ties.  Once, the little guide on the chain stay for the rear derailleur (sp?) just broke off during a ride.  It was easily reattached in place with a zip tie.  this was a couple of years ago, and it's still holding. There have been other times it's been handy to have a zip tie, too.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: roadrunner on December 20, 2010, 10:14:47 pm
We can probably all benefit from others' experience and ideas.

Finding multiple uses for items cuts down the amount of stuff (and weight) to carry. 
a. Sunscreen does a decent job of removing greasy chain-residue from hands and legs.
b. A small squeeze-bottle of dish soap works for bathing and washing hands and clothes.  Refill it with hand soap in restrooms.

A 7" spike is handy for making holes for tent stakes in hard ground (using a rock as a hammer).
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: Awf Hand on December 21, 2010, 10:00:00 am
I found that putting my powdered Gatoraid mix in little baggies -premeasured for my drink bottles- in my fanny pack means I don't have to dig in panniers when I stop for a quick drink/refill.  I'll just refill the baggies each morning while my coffee water heats.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: Tandem4Rider on December 21, 2010, 02:11:36 pm
I found that putting my powdered Gatoraid mix in little baggies -premeasured for my drink bottles-

I use a baby formula container for the same purpose.  I find it pours the powder more cleanly - no waste.

I might add, though I'm not sure it is that original or the type of info being sought; to repair flats.  I cut old tires to about 8-10cm lengths to insert over the hole in the tire until I can replace them.  I find they protect far better and are much faster than using the patch kits.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: BrianW on December 21, 2010, 02:15:12 pm
Carry a Thermarest or other self-inflating sleeping pad in a stuff sack? Always pack it with the valve facing the open end of the stuff sack. That way if it somehow inflates itself, creating a tight fit, you can easily let air out and then remove from the stuff sack.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: DaveB on December 21, 2010, 04:55:23 pm
Some flashlights have a nasty habit of turning themselves in your pack leaving you with dead batteries just when you need it.  Reverse the battery in the light or remove it and pack it separately to keep that from happening. For a sliding switch, tape the switch in the off position. 
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: indyfabz on December 22, 2010, 09:28:41 am
Letting cold water from the tap warm naturally and putting your pots in the sun before cooking can help save fuel.

If you store items inside your cooking pots, line the pots with something like a bandana to prevent surface damage.  Learned this the hard way.

The wind will usually dry wet/damp clothes quickly if they are attached outside the panniers (secure them tightly) or put in a front pannier with an outside mesh pocket.

Oh...Don't tug on Superman's cape. :)
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: bogiesan on December 23, 2010, 08:36:34 am
Wear your bike clothes to the shower.
Bring several pairs of earplugs.
Duct tape.
A good first aid kit, sure, but more important is knowing how to use it.
Got one of those meal saver vacuum-bag systems? You can find tons of useful things to do with that sucker. You can reduce an entire wardrobe of clothing and other soft items to a compact brick. You can repackage your food items and emergency gear into watertight bags.

david boise ID
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: waynemyer on December 23, 2010, 02:14:37 pm
I see a lot of talk on other sites about cleaning up after working on the bike.  I'm of the mindset to not get greasy in the first place.  Pack six to ten latex gloves in a ziploc back, squeeze out all the air, and stick it in your tool bag.  It takes up negligible additional room.  Take the gloves off inside-out and pull over any dirty, greasy trash you may have.  Instant self-contained waste receptacle.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: litespeed on December 25, 2010, 11:06:25 am
A roll of Gorilla Tape beats duct tape like a drum. It's much stickier, stronger and more durable. I once patched a ruptured seam on my sleeping bag compression bag. It's still there after many years.

For good, cheap, light tent stakes go to the gutter department of your builders' supply store (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.) and buy a package of aluminum gutter nails.

Forget the flashlight and just pack a headlamp in your handlebar pack. I bought mine at WalMart.

Pack spare Ziplock bags.

I never go anywhere (except airplanes) without my swiss army knife - "tinker" model.

Always have your passport with you. You never know....
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: Shane on December 25, 2010, 04:54:23 pm
I have a list of my handy things HERE (http://shanecycles.com/about/my-gear/handy-stuff) I would of course like to add the already mentioned Tie wraps and baby wipes, always good hygiene even if you dont have water.....

Shane
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: GCharles on December 28, 2010, 02:37:19 pm
Awesome list, thanks for all the replies.  I hope this list helps out everyone getting ready to head out on the trail.  Happy New Years to all!!

Glenn
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: Voyageur on December 28, 2010, 03:42:47 pm
Howdy GCharles...

Great thread. In the past I too used lots of olive oil.  I find hand lotion is much better...  ;D
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: knolltop on December 28, 2010, 07:20:55 pm
Awesome list, thanks for all the replies.  I hope this list helps out everyone getting ready to head out on the trail.  Happy New Years to all!!

Glenn
+1!!
Title: Ground Cloths
Post by: GCharles on December 29, 2010, 07:59:58 am
I really have an overall aversion to the use of ground cloths, especially in rain areas.  My preference is to find camp sites with good drainage and an good overall surface.  However, that is not always doable, so ground cloths do have a place in my kit.  Instead of buying the expensive ones made by the manufacturer, I simply go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a box of the painter plastic.  The plastic rolls come in varying thickness, so you can choose the level of protection that is right for your needs.  I take the plastic roll out of the box, cut out 4 or 5 of them based on the footprint of my tent and there you go.  Not only do you save a ton of money, but these things last forever.  I carried one of them with me for over 6 months as I went up through Alaska and other than dirt and grime, it was in great shape.  Long distance travelers can cut out 3 or 4 of them and leave the spares with their resupply person and then have them mailed to a resupply point when needed.
Title: Re: Ground Cloths
Post by: knolltop on December 29, 2010, 11:14:10 am
I simply go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a box of the painter plastic.  The plastic rolls come in varying thickness, so you can choose the level of protection that is right for your needs.  ... these things last forever.
Hmmmmmm ... always assumed these things would puncture very easily.

I use Tyvek as ground cloth.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: tonythomson on December 29, 2010, 12:50:58 pm
Hope not off topic but has anyone come across a "chair" to take as getting up these days or sitting long periods on the ground is proving somewhat harder than it used to  >:(
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: Shane on December 29, 2010, 02:44:49 pm
I have one of those "chair kits"for my inflatable mat(insertnamehere), for the extra 1-1.5 pound its well worth it, the main disadvantage is that it doesn't really work for breaks, only at camp. When I stop for a break I use one of my front panniers as a seat (its full of cloths) against a tree or fence post when possible.

Shane
Title: Re: Ground cloths (footprints)
Post by: litespeed on December 30, 2010, 09:55:15 am
I always buy the footprint that comes with any tent I buy. It is well worth the extra $30 or so. With my Hilleberg I just stake out the footprint and half the setup work is done. Unlike sheet plastic it stays put, doesn't wrinkle up and probably works better. I have never had a tent bottom leak.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: staehpj1 on December 30, 2010, 10:18:51 am
I have taken to not using a ground cloth for bike touring and never bought into the fancy and expensive "footprint" options.  My rationale is that:

Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: staehpj1 on December 30, 2010, 10:26:28 am
Back on topic...

One DIY piece of gear I like is a little "throw bag" I made with maybe 60' of parachute cord in it.  It is like a miniature version of the throw bags used in whitewater rescue.  It was made using a little sack that originally held tent stakes.  It works great for hanging the food bag to keep it away from critters and also serves as a clothesline among other things.  The bag probably adds less than a half an ounce compared to just carrying the parachute cord loose.
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: GCharles on December 30, 2010, 05:59:41 pm
This is a great tip, I always struggle with innovative ways to deal with my throw bags and food hanging.  I have an extra stake bag and will bring it on my upcoming trip and try that out.  Thanks!

As for the plastic cloth, I like the fact that it is cheap and nearly indestructible, depending on the thickness you get.  If it does break or get worn out, well, it is only another couple of cents to replace it.  However, like I said, in general I don't like ground cloths because I find they are just magnets for collecting moisture.  I have been in huge storms and had the sides of my tent blow up in the middle of the night exposing the ground cloth to the moisture.  Choosing a site with good drainage is in my opinion a really good way to go.

Happy Holidays,

Glenn
Title: Re: DIY Tips
Post by: MIBIKER on January 06, 2011, 05:23:11 pm
My rims have presta valves.  I drilled out the valve hole to the same size as a schrader valve.  I then inserted a presta valve rim saver so I can  use a presta or schrader tube.  I also keep a presta valve adapter on the presta stem that way I always find the adapter in case I have to use a pump that is not presta adaptable.