Even the most prepared and experienced commuters aren’t immune to unexpected weather or mid-ride mechanical problems. The next time you’re stranded in the rain or fighting to fix bike malfunctions, employ one of these MacGyver-like moves to save the day.
No tire lever? No problem
The Problem: You find yourself without a tire lever and you have a flat.
Quick Fix: If you have a quick release, use that to pry the tire from the bead. Carefully unscrew the nut from the opposite side of the quick release and slide the skewer out of the hub. Keep the springs and nut nearby or in a pocket. Use the flat, rounded end of the quick release as an impromptu tire lever.
Fix bike tire puncture with a dollar bill
The Problem: When you remove the tube to change a flat bike tire, you discover a puncture that leaves a hole in the tire.
Quick Fix: To fix bike flats, keep the tube from squeezing out the hole and puncturing, use a dollar bill to boot or patch the tire until you can get home or to a bike shop. Word on the street is that some have ridden over a hundred miles after employing this trick (though we recommend replacing the bike tire as soon as possible). First locate the puncture and replace the bike tube. With the bill in hand, fold it in half once and then again. In a pinch, you can also use a plastic food wrapper or a sturdy envelope. Insert the boot between the bike tire and tube at the puncture and inflate.
Improvise bike fenders
The Problem: You’re away from home and it begins to pour. You’ve got a new bike, but opted to save some dough by skimping on bike fenders.
Quick Fix: Bike fenders don’t have to be fancy. All you need to stop the road splatter is a soda or milk container, box cutters and several zip ties. Cut the bottle in half and cut off the spout, too. If using a milk jug, be sure the piece of plastic is at least four inches wide. On the end of the bike fender, remove a half-moon shape, just large enough to fit snugly against your seat post. Punch holes in the sides and secure the fender with zip ties.
If you want to add a front fender, use the same materials, cardboard will also work in a pinch, but be sure the material doesn’t rub against your front tire or interfere with braking. Mount the fender to the bottom of the head-tube and on the inside of the fork and then secure with zip ties.