10 free life hacks for mountain bikers

Don’t work harder, work Smarter with these tips and tricks

How To Video
Bikes are expensive, but these tricks cost nothing.

Bikes are expensive, but these tricks cost nothing.

Mountain biking is an expensive sport to get into. Once you’ve purchased a bike, protective gear, and tools, you’re easily out a grand if not more. Of course, not everything has to cost the proverbial arm and leg. Press play to see 10 free life hacks for mountain bikers.

If you work in a draconian office environment where watching YouTube videos is discouraged, here’s the list in written form:

  1. GoPro cases can get filthy when filming. For easy cleaning, just pop the empty case in the dishwasher.
  2. If you don’t have a work stand at home, flipping your bike upside down is the next best thing. The only problem is that sometimes the shifters will scrape the ground. To give yourself some clearance (and save your grips), rest the handlebar on scrap 2×4 slats.
  3. Performance bikes don’t generally come equipped with kickstands, so being able to balance your bike on a curb is a lifesaver (especially for those social media posts.) The trick is to pedal backward, so that the drivetrain holds the bike in place.
  4. Don’t have a truing stand? Use zip ties! This one is a lifesaver on the trails.
  5. Empty patch kits can be repurposed for a number of things. For example you can fill the empties with first aid supplies. The end result is small enough to fit in a hydration pack or be strapped under your saddle.
  6. If your bike was stolen, you are required to prove ownership to the police. If the thief scratches off the serial number, this can be tricky. In case this happens, you can try stuffing your information into an inconspicuous location, like the handlebar or seat post.
  7. If your tubeless setup won’t seat, try glitter.
  8. Hydration bags tend to slosh around when there’s air inside. To remove the empty space, flip the bag upside down and take a swig. This bleeds the air out and eliminates sloshing.
  9. If you regularly ride somewhere muddy or just want to keep poison oak out of your car, you can use an old towel. To ensure it doesn’t slip, try sewing a flap on one end that can be hung over the headrest.
  10. When trimming zip ties, the leftover stub can be sharp enough to cut. Use a knife to trim off the excess and eliminate the hazard. Personally, I don’t recommend using a knife to work on zip ties. It’s really easy to slip a blade and cut yourself. Instead, try a pair of nail clippers.

For more entertaining videos, visit Seth’s Bike Hacks on YouTube.

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  • Paul Elkins says:

    Easiest way to smooth off sharp zip tie edges is to hit it with fine sand paper. Takes only a few seconds.

  • Mike Mechanic says:

    truing wheels:

    take a black marker, hold it braced against seatStays, spin wheel, move marker closer to side wall of rim. Marker, as wheel swings outward, marks side of rim wall. Do the same on other side.

    Blacked marked areas are where wheel swings outward. Tighten, 1/4 turn the opposite side spokes, pulling wheel towards the other side. Do same for other side.

    Use mild cleaner on an old sock, spin wheel, wipe black mark off.

    Ride again, allowing wheel rim to re-seat. Check after next ride.

  • Mark M says:

    For cutting the tails off of zip ties, use a set of flush cuts. They’re specifically designed to cut wire off flush with the edge of the cutters, and they’re indispensable for zip ties as well. You can get them at any decent hardware store for less than $10, and you’ll never cut yourself on a zip tie again.

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