Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Off-Season Hacks And Follies

I am an absolute pansy when it comes to winter riding.

Sure, I commute by bike year-round, but c'mon. My commute is one stinkin' mile each way. If the weather's bad enough that I can't ride a bike one mile, I shouldn't be going to work. Heck, if it's too bad to actually pedal, I can always just lower the saddle and Fred Flinstone the mile to work like I'm on a gigantic scooter.

When it comes to "fun" (non-commuting) rides, my good bike goes up on the hamster wheel pretty early in the winter... which inspires the eternal indoor cyclist's quest: How not to bore oneself to death upon the off-season torture device? Enter those wacky newfangled "smart" phones: music, TV, the Internets, games, all in the palm of your hand. With the increased popularity of GPS and bike computer apps, there are even a bunch of doo-dads designed specifically to hold a phone on your bars within view.

But me, I'm cheap, and I often see ready-made solutions as an affront to my bodging tendencies. So when I wanted to prop my pocket internets on the handlebars of my indoor suffering machine, I got some of these:

Basically, big ol' hunks of wire dipped in very thick, grippy textured rubber. Bend them, shape them, any way you want them, as long as you love them, it's all right. I crafted one into this:


Don't get it yet? Imagine that this plastic small-parts box is some sort of electronic entertainment device:

I tried putting my phone in there and using a mirror so it could take a self-portrait, but the thing took one look at itself, developed self-awareness, and now it refuses to open the pod bay doors.

The resulting mount has a tiny bit of jiggle, but it works great. I can adjust the angle with a bit of bending, and the phone shows no sign of ejecting. And since the giant twisty-tie things come in a two-pack, I have one more to play with -- it certainly looks like it has potential for many more interesting hacks, from accessory installation to the world's wackiest chainstay protector.

HUGE, MASSIVE, PLEASE-READ-THIS DISCLAIMER: This may not be a recommended use of this particular product. Please do not hold me or the folks at Nite-Ize responsible if your phone leaps to its death on a concrete floor. And I would NOT even THINK of using this on a real-world outdoor ride, both because I don't look at screens during real-world rides and because I can almost guarantee that use on an actual road would result in phone suicide.


Anonymous said...

Not bad, especially for a liberal arts major! ;)

I've done something analogous, but using a bent wire hanger, and it held a little LCD tv that was hooked up to a VCR. Beats the heck out of listening to the Walkman or such (yeah, this was pre-iPod).

I can't tolerate pedaling indoors now, though, and will do anything to avoid it. Tonight, though, was a fairly nice 25 mile commute with temperatures a bit above freezing. Not bad at all!

Steve in Peoria

Steve Fuller said...

You didn't get a big screen and a lifetime supply of Classics videos for your big birthday? For shame...