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Forum: Tips and Tricks

If you have interesting tidbits on just about anything related to touring, post 'em here...

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#1: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Simon Goodman on Sat 8 Sep 2012 11:02 (US/Pacific) Edit Delete   Reply (23)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I awoke a 4am with a complete idea. To post my MacGyver solutions to problems on various tours that may have looked ugly, lacked all dignity but worked. I am not claiming these are any way original and I know there plenty of fantastic fixes of ingenuity are waiting to be told.

• Plastic shopping bags used as rain shoes and as clothes protectors for a leaking pannier.
• Plastic ties to hold on broken things to the bike.
• Duct tape repairing shoes, tents and panniers.
• Long socks with toe end cut off then used as arm warmers.
• The humble shower cap worn under the helmet to combat rain.
• A plastic garbage bag cut open for arms and head as an extra top. Very stylish.
• Plastic garbage bags wedged between the outer fly and inner tent to help keep out rain and condensation.
• The simple plastic soup bottle as a pee-bottle when camping in bad weather.
• Old inner tube cut up for extra patches.
• Safety pins to repair a failed pannier zipper and used to create post punk long sleeve cycle top.
• I bought a bed sheet then cut and sewed it up for an inner sleeping bag to counter cold weather.

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Bodged bike rack cover, with plastic found on the Alaska Highway and held on with string and wire.

      
#2: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Karen Cook on Sat 8 Sep 2012 11:39 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Hockey tape and clamp to repair a broken rack...

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If I've said it once I've said it more than once, "never go on a bike trip without hockey tape!" And this just proves it. Having dropped two of the original parts in England, I used waded up tape as a temporary assembly fix. I THINK it will hold everything in place until I can get something better.

Image on journal page: Jour six: the REAL French experience in journal France on a roll -- depending on charmFeatured Journal #593 by Karen Cook (Completed Jul 2011)


Hockey tape. Don't leave home without it!

      
#3: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Robert Raynard on Sat 8 Sep 2012 13:10 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I used an automotive hose clamp to repair a broken weld on a rear rack in the 1980's. It is still holding.
Bob

      
#4: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By John Kerley on Sat 8 Sep 2012 13:36 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Wadded grasss in the tire to make up for a shredded tube that I had no replacement for at the moment. Made it 20 miles to a store to get a new tube on it fairly comfortably too.

      
#5: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Graham Smith on Sat 8 Sep 2012 13:53 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
"lacked all dignity but worked"
In summer 1979 enroute across Europe on my first (very low budget) cycle tour. Arrived in Venice and found prices exorbitantly high. Ended up 'camping' rough in a Venetian park in the company of two very funny Irish backpackers. Storm of biblical scale at night resulted in me and one of the Irish guys sleeping toe-to-toe under an archway entry to the park with commandeered plastic garbage bags as bivvy bags. Awoke to find a steady stream of early morning pedestrian commuters politely stepping over us garbage bagged mummies. Turned out the archway was the main/exit entry to the park.

Edit: The garbage bag bivvy worked. My sleeping bag was fairly dry and I got to see Venice and Venetians from an angle few others do.

      
#6: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Steve Glasgow on Sat 8 Sep 2012 15:54 Edit Delete in reply to #2     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/pic/?pic_id=391297

to repair a broken front pannier rack.

      
#7: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Wayne Estes on Sat 8 Sep 2012 16:39 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Zip ties can be used to repair many things, such as a broken underseat rack. Don't leave home without them!

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Broken underseat rack mended with two zip ties.

Image on journal page: Day 38: To Lava Beds National Monument in journal The California J by Wayne Estes (Completed Oct 2009)

By the way, I always used a shower cap ON TOP of my helmet, not under my helmet. A shower cap just isn't stylish when concealed under the helmet. ;-)

      
#8: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Suzanne Stack on Sat 8 Sep 2012 20:02 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Tire patch for hole in butt of bike shorts :)

      
#9: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Robert Raynard on Sat 8 Sep 2012 21:41 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
When you break a front derailleur cable the derailleur will hold the chain on your smallest chainring. Cut a small section of a tree branch with a pocket knife, pull the derailleur over, and place the branch piece between the derailleur and the frame. The spring of the derailleur will hold the branch piece in place and allow you to ride your crippled bike to the next bike shop without having to ride in granny gear, albeit without being able to change chainrings.

      
#10: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Dave Butansky on Sat 8 Sep 2012 22:22 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I have never been sorry carrying a butane soldering iron and a length of electronics grade fluxed lead/tin solder. The most common issue with electronics in the outside world is a broken connector. The only thing to remember is that butane soldering irons shoot heat form the sides and if you are not careful you can accidentally melt case or components away from the tip if you do not keep that in mind.

      
#11: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Rodney Keelan on Sat 8 Sep 2012 23:02 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Take a tube you would otherwise discard, cut the valve off and use it as a liner. Put it between the good tube and the tire as a flat prevention device.

      
#12: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Tom Walwyn on Sun 9 Sep 2012 02:14 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Silicone sealant (as used for windows) - available almost everywhere (in the Americas anyway).

1 - Durable Thermarest repairs
2 - Water bag repairs (even up to 2-3 cm holes) - in MSR DromLite type fabric.
3 - Pannier repairs
4 - Rack 'rub' protection
5 - replacing water repellency on the non-shiny Ortlieb Classic fabric (for bar bags and panniers). Rub a dab in well - beads up nicely - lasts months.

Plus many others, obviously...

      
#13: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Emma Taylor on Sun 9 Sep 2012 03:09 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
1 - Desperately needing to re-attach my rear light during a thunderstorm... cable ties, and a piece of wood, plus a strap wrapped around the wood when it proved too thin for the light bracket... (Something similar has been used again after the light fitting broke off on the last tour as well, which stayed in place for 6 weeks until we could replace the rear light)

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Bike light attachment bushcraft style

Image on journal page: Day 12: Haervejscenter Kollemorton - Sommersted in journal Our First Tour by Emma Taylor and Stuart Taylor (Completed Jan 2011)
2 - fire lighting during torrential rain (we were out of gas and meths and needed a natural fire for cooking,) - the used inner tubes cut into strips light amazingly well and we managed to find some dead vertical wood which was not quite as wet as the rest of the wood was... fire lit, food underway, no longer freezing cold from being wet through...

3 - washing up gloves (marigolds) in the far north of norway after a seriously wet spell when my waterproof gloves gave up totally and the weather was around freezing... too cold to cycle without gloves and my only other pair were fingerless - regretfully no photos! (Plastic bags had been the very temporary solution, but had issues like filling with water, but did work very well with keeping the wind chill off until you lifted your hands off the handlebars...)

4 - out of water, in an area that was sand, so the rain was draining away. Inverted tarp to Ortlieb water 'bucket' (tarp usually used to hide bikes), 20L collected in 10 mins or so (OK it was torrential rain, but water issues resolved). We have used this method more than once, just make sure the oily side (from touching the chains) is not the one collecting the water...

5 - plenty of self adhesive tyre patches - used for groundsheet/footprint repairs, waterproof trouser repairs, watertight bag repairs, but rarely inner tube repairs!

      
#14: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By luke perry-gore on Sun 9 Sep 2012 05:49 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I realised that the reason my front hub was on a rediculous special was that the shoulders for the cartridge bearings were machined a bit too deep leaving my front hub with play that shouldn't be there. So I used some super glue and electrical tape to make some rough packing so the hub wouldn't shift on the axle. Then I proceeded to ride it another 8000 trouble free loaded km and more once home. I've been thinking that maybe I should see about doing a better job one day, that's quite a few revolutions for a dodgy bearing seat.

      
#15: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Sun 9 Sep 2012 06:37 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Not quite MacGuyver level but I once broke a rear derailleur (lost the idler wheel bolt) in rural New Brunswick, and ended up buying a cheap "claw" type Tourney-level replacement. It wouldn't go on the bike, but I was able to use a mix of the parts from both my old one and the new one to get back on the road in about an hour.

      
#16: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Gary Hochgraf on Sun 9 Sep 2012 12:38 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Dogs. On my wife's bike we taped/wired a plastic bottle to hold a length of bamboo. (both collected from the side of the road). Lookout dogs!

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Dog stick

      
#17: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Dale Oswald on Sun 9 Sep 2012 15:00 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Phil MacNeil shoved an old failed tire inside a new failed tire, and it got him to a bike shop. I also have zip-tied a rack together.

      
#18: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Tyson Schimschal on Sun 9 Sep 2012 19:03 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Hi Simon,

Nothing to major, probably my best road side fix was repairing my bulging tire with duct tape, aluminum can, and a plastic bottle.

This simple fix got me a couple of hundred of kilometers further down the road and back to civilization.

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Duct tape fixes everything!

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My front tire before it is deposited in its final resting place. The trash bin.

Image on journal page: Getting Poked: Days Off in Ayacucho in journal Spinning My Wheels In South AmericaFeatured Journal #391 by Tyson Schimschal (Completed Feb 2011)

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My rear tire (now the front) with aluminum boot installed. This got me 120km's further down a rough gravel road and is still holding.

Image on journal page: Getting Poked: Days Off in Ayacucho in journal Spinning My Wheels In South AmericaFeatured Journal #391 by Tyson Schimschal (Completed Feb 2011)

I did the same on the front tire which had a gash in the sidewall rather than the tread and this fix got me another 800km's down the road.

      
#19: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Mon 10 Sep 2012 05:58 Edit Delete in reply to #18     Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Did you put a bad rear tire on the front? Why? If either of my tires was going to go bad, I'd hope it was the rear one, as front tire problems lead to crashes more often than rear problems do.

      
#20: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Dale Oswald on Mon 10 Sep 2012 06:50 Edit Delete in reply to #19     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
They were probably thinking that the front carries less weight, or that you can watch it for further problems. They're not unreasonable reasons, but I think that not losing my steering and most of my braking trumps either of them.

      
#21: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Steve Miller on Mon 10 Sep 2012 09:55 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Hockey tape (electrical tape actually) wrapped around the sharp end of a partially broken off brake lever. This was 4000 km ago and since it is still working just fine we will wait until we return home to replace the 'fix' with a new lever.

      
#22: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Tyson Schimschal on Mon 10 Sep 2012 17:38 Edit Delete in reply to #19     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Good point!

My reasoning at the time was since there was less weight on the front of the bike the bad tire was less prone to failure on the front. The road I was riding on was so horrible that I wasn't going more than 10km's an hour DOWN HILL anyway so a crash resulting from tire failure would have been pretty slow speed.

After arriving in Ayacucho the patch job on the tire was holding up so well I continued riding on it, on the front, for a couple more weeks. I purchased a spare in the city so I had it if I needed it, which i eventually did. When the patch job finally did fail it was just a slow leak that gradually went soft as opposed to a catastrophic blow out. So I guess I lucked out there.

      
#23: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Chris Wee on Mon 10 Sep 2012 21:34 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
A broken pawl in the rear hub sub assembly (to quote Shimano) Well, the cassette still spins forward when you crank, but the rear wheel ain't moving. I walked the bike up 3 kms to a volcanic crater rim in Bali. We were staying by a lake in the crater.

Thankfully it was a 30 km mostly downhill run back to another town where I could by a whole new, slow release (Ie nutted) 7 speed, 36 hole rim rear wheel for $20. Trouble is my 8 speed wheel had a fancy CNC Machine Tech rear hub. Just remove one top gear cog and the accompanying cassette spacer, cross your fingers and the rest should fit into any 7 speed Shimano rear hub made for cassettes.

This particular wheel, which had 'SHINANO' stamped on the hub, was the best that the village shop had. MacGuyver could use some good luck too, sometimes.

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Bet these guys wouldn't be smiling so much, if they had a broken hub ;-(

      
#24: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Sherman Dunnam on Fri 14 Sep 2012 13:40 Edit Delete in reply to #4     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Wish I would have thought of that! I recently had more flats than I had spare tubes and patches. I pushed the loaded bike five miles to a place where I could at least get the least damaged tube patched.

There was long grass all along the roadside as I pushed the bike and it never occurred to me to stuff it inside the tire! Brilliant!

--Sherman

      
#25: Re: MacGyver moments on Tour what are yours? (thread)
By Michael Musto on Sat 15 Sep 2012 13:45 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
IIRC this guy ended up MacGyvering this back into shape with a roll of duct tape. He still had to buy new wheels but was kind of pissed he got a scratch on one of the seat stays.

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