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Cycling gear from the hardware store

by Richard Masoner

“P” at Nippleworks reveals that he uses safety glasses from the hardware store for cyclocross racing. Eye protection is helpful for commuting, too: I know a handful of people who’ve had to recover from a bug flying into their eyes. For riding at dusk or in cloudy conditions, amber lenses improve contrast. Clear glasses are best, of course, for riding at night.

My favorite cool weather cycling gloves are CLC Safety Tradesmen gloves that I probably bought at Home Depot or maybe Lowes a few years ago. They have the perfect padding for my hands, a great fit, and the all important snot wipe on the back of the thumb.

Before the advent of inexpensive, reasonable quality bike lights, I used to get most of my bike lighting and reflective bits from the auto parts store.

What other helpful cycling stuff can you buy from the hardware or home improvement store?

 
Burley nomad 229

29 Responses to “Cycling gear from the hardware store”

  1. WheelDancer says:

    How about shooter’s mittens from an army surplus store? I got some last year for about $3. They have a single finger sticking out of what is otherwise a mitten and I wear various thicknesses of wool gloves as liners and they give me complete comfort all the way down below zero and have room for heater packs but I have only needed them when it was below -10 and I would be out longer than a half hour.

  2. McAngryPants says:

    I have used safety glasses (tinted for daytime, yellow for night) for YEARS! Can’t recommend enough. Home Depot is your friend.

  3. Le ZBoy says:

    Holy crap. I had to pinch myself to see if I wrote this post. :)
    I have worn clear, tinted, and yellow safety glasses now for a couple of years. They run $5-$15 AND I also use the CLC Safety Tradesmen gloves! Can’t beat that patch of orange (I suppose a reflective patch would be better) when you are signalling for a turn.

    I also found liquid plastic (for dipping tool handles into) is a great way to protect sensitive parts on my bike shoes. Just don’t get any of it in the moving parts.

  4. ohio biker says:

    Scotchlite is retro-reflective tape,
    available in white, red, and possibly other
    colors. It is self-adhesive, and I apply it
    to the frame of the bike strategically.

    I’ve also put alternating stripes of white
    and red scotchlite, onto the back half of
    my blue bike helmet. One of these days,
    I will make a few white stars to go in
    the blue front part.

    When I didn’t have braze-ons or mounting
    points, for an extra water bottle, I used
    metal hose clamps that are adjustable.
    (Just make sure you put some rubber pads
    underneath, or you can sure tear up the
    finish of the frame)

    If you want to laugh at me for this next
    one, I grant permission. (I sometimes
    laugh at myself!) Although I have spent
    a year or more riding with SPDs, I just
    don’t bother with them anymore. (It winds
    up restricting you on which footgear you
    can wear with them …)

    I once wanted to ride with those rat-trap
    toe strap things, but was annoyed at the
    difficulty of trying to flip the pedal around
    to get the nose of my shoe into the ‘hole’.

    So I came up with this ‘hillbilly’ contraption
    that always kept the pedals in the proper
    orientation. It involved a pulley mounted
    on the top tube near the front of the bike,
    and some elastic cord, commonly used in
    fiberglass tent-poles. The elastic would
    go through the pulley, and down both sides
    of the bike to the top of each rat-trap.
    It actually worked fairly well.

  5. Ghost Rider says:

    Don’t forget P-clamps! Great for attaching racks and fenders to bikes that don’t have brazed-on fittings…

    DOT “conspicuity tape” is sometimes available at hardware stores, and it blows away other reflective tapes on the market — it’s the same stuff semi-trucks line their rigs with, and it reflects light like a mofo!

  6. hal says:

    +1 on the work gloves.

    Also the obvious clamps, zip ties, replacement screws, etc., for the bike.

    Army-Navy stores are also great sources for bags and such. I got a great rucksack and a couple of shoulder-bags/panniers that I use when hauling stuff — both were under $20.

  7. Shay says:

    I bought my reflective safety vest at Lowe’s. It’s a lovely shade of see-me yellow.

  8. Juan says:

    In addition to hal’s clamps and zip ties, I have long strips of double sided velcro wrapped around my pump/top tube. I like the velcro because it’s easy to reuse. Can’t believe Duct Tape hasn’t made this list yet!

  9. ethan says:

    I got the basket I keep on the back of my bike from the bathroom section of a home improvement store.

  10. -p- says:

    Thanks for spreading the word. You’re right, the new nylon backed work gloves are great for commuting and cold weather riding. I have an insulated pair with a pigskin palm. Also, much cheaper than the latest wonder fabric super hydro-wicking marketing hype glvoes from the bike clothing companies.

  11. I’ve used a section of PVC pipe as a crown race setter, and gotten water-repellent spray (scotch-guard) from the hardware store as well.

  12. Le ZBoy says:

    Of course, I forgot about PVC.
    On my recumbent I use a PVC T-section mounted in the tube for the front derailleur for mounting my big winter lights and I modified the plans from this site
    http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/bikerack/makerack.htm
    to make a bunch of bike racks for my office. We have decent bike parking now, inside, for 20 bikes for about $150 in materials custom made, and modular, to fit the space.

  13. Ed W says:

    I’ve purchased a great deal of cold-weather cycling gear from Atwoods, a farm implement store chain here in Oklahoma. It’s a farm and ranch store for people who have actual cow manure on their boots, not the Lexus and Mercedes cowboys in town. They have polypropylene longs that go nicely under cycling clothes. I bought a couple of balaclavas and skull caps for less than $5 each. Try that in a cycling specialty store!

    But the best find so far was a pair or Wells Lamont work gloves in screaming yellow with reflective patches on the backs. Hold it out at arms length to indicate a turn, and roll your hand at the wrist for a flashing turn signal.

  14. Fritz says:

    Thanks for all of those reminders of other useful things – clamps, reflective tape, safety vests, Scotch spray.

    I hadn’t heard of liquid plastic before: I need to look for that. Is that an epoxy type of thing?

    I’ve used PVC has a space maker for all of the extra lights I occasionally like to mount on my bike. And I forgot all about the farm supply store. I used to visit Blain’s Farm & Fleet in Urbana IL for cold weather gear.

    Ohio, is there any chance of seeing a photo of your pedal rig?

  15. ohio biker says:

    My pedal rig has been disassembled for a couple of years now,
    as I’ve been riding just regular pedals. I could, (given a bit of decent
    weather which is scarce here right now), easily re-create it.

    Come spring I would be happy to redo and document it.

  16. Phil says:

    Though I’m not a big fan of Wal-Mart’s, I have to say their “Safety-Vu” clear glasses are a fantastic find for about $5.00 a pair. They fit my face and head well, provide excellent coverage, and don’t distort. I now prefer them over my old Oakley Pilots.

  17. Le ZBoy says:

    Plasti-Dip is the stuff I am referring to.
    http://www.plastidip.com/

  18. Ghost Rider says:

    Plasti-Dip is good for coating brake levers, too…a little color-matching and some extra grip never hurt!

  19. Ciego says:

    Instead of buying name brand cables to lock a bike, look at the ones that Home Depot carries. I’m a little surprised no one has mentioned screws for clip-on shoes.

  20. Joseph Vota says:

    I have used both of these gloves in cold weather commuting and on bike rides. The “summits” seem to work better for light touring and club rides because they are much more breathable and my hands tend to sweat in the “cold conditions.” These things are pretty warm:

    https://www.ironclad.com/www/productDetail.jsp?prodID=40&catID=44

    https://www.ironclad.com/www/productDetail.jsp?prodID=60&catID=44

    I have also used these velcro straps as trouser straps (not the exact ones, but very similar). In the warmer weather, I will just roll my pant leg up on my commute but it is not very comfortable during the winter. It beats dropping $30 on a Brooks trouser strap:

    http://www.staples.com/office/supplies/StaplesProductDisplay?&storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10051&partNumber=906489&cm_mmc=GoogleBase-_-Shopping-_-Office_Supplies_%253E_Rubber_Bands_and_Fasteners_-_-906489-90346&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=906489

    Also, if you don’t have a chunk of beeswax, go to your local hardware store and get one. There so so many uses for it, it’s unbelievable. It is by far the best thing I have found to lube metal zippers, coat threads, lube brake cables, etc.

  21. Tom says:

    I second the hose clamps! Used them to attach my front fender onto the suspension fork. A few curse words later, it works perfectly. I also use them for the bits and pieces needed to the various pieces together and attached to the bike. I just bought a pair of rain pants at Wally-World for like $20 that are light colored and breathable. Haven’t had to test them out yet, but I look forward to it.

  22. Alan says:

    I found those blinky tail lights for $4 in the emergency preparedness section of a regional hardware store. They are identical to the Planet Bike and Night Rider lights I’d purchased previously.

    Also, I shop ski wear for winter/wet weather wear. Great for socks, baclavas, long underwear, etc.

    Last, for warm weather I shop for running gear at the end of Fall. I just found some great long-sleeve shirts which will be great in the spring. They don’t have pockets in the back, but do have a drop tail.
    Alan

  23. Eric says:

    Some hardware stores carry BBQ lights that can attach to a bike easily, and they’re pretty bright.

    I’ve heard of people buying Cree LED flashlights at hardware stores and using them on the bike, but I haven’t done this yet.

  24. BiggerDummy says:

    I found a curved white LED light set that clips onto the visor of my helmet. It is a “be seen” level light but works well when changing flats or locking up in the dark

  25. bluegray25 says:

    We should also put attention on our cycling clothing. Use only high quality, trendy yet affordable cycling clothing for your biking activity.

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  27. Zachary says:

    Can you buy a treaded pole and make that into a axel

    Sorry if i spelled anything wrong im not perfect

  28. AlanG24 says:

    Mudflap for your fenders:
    I live in Portland, OR and commute year round through rain. While many here cut a coke bottle or milk jug in half to create a mud flap for their fenders, by FAR the best I’ve ever seen or used is a mudflap made from vinyl stair tread.

    I modeled mine after some classic Brooks mudguards (http://www.ukbikestore.co.uk/product/31/bmf1a0720/brooks-leather-mudflap.html)

    Right clicked on the photo, enlarged it, made a pattern and traced it onto the vinyl stair tread.

    I removed the wimpy flap from my Planet Bike fenders, punched holes in the newly cut flaps and used black zip ties reinforced with black vinyl washers to attach the flap to the inside of the fender.

    Overtime, I’ve modified the design to add width and length (almost touch the ground): has made a HUGE difference in keeping my feet drier and drive train cleaner.

    Vinyl stair tread is pliable and easily allows your bike to be loaded onto the city bus bike rack. You can also easily attach reflective tape or buttons.

    Other resources for making flaps:
    Mudflap How-to
    http://phred.org/~alex/bikes/fendermudflap.html

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gzahnd/sets/72157600115186491/

    Check out t

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