Ever stop to think that what you’re throwing away might be useful? I do…all the time. I just hate throwing stuff out that might be useful. Just think about how much stuff we throw away. And by “we” I mean everyone. My family and I are doing what we can to control what we recycle and what we throw away. I am sure there are uses for most of the glass, plastics and metal things we all throw away everyday. I thought I would share some ideas that I’ve come across for things that commonly get thrown away. My favorite is #4.
1. Plastic Lanyard
Typically when you bring your bike or wheel to a bike shop for service they tag it. One of the local bike shops I go to use an adjustable plastic lanyard which they usually leave on when you pick it up. I started saving these realizing their usefulness but not really knowing what I would use them for. This winter I have been cleaning up my bike work area. Trying to organize all sorts of bike parts and hardware that I had scattered throughout the garage. I finally found a use for these clips.
These are perfect for retaining small round parts (spacers, cogs, lock rings, even small washers), they’re adjustable, and they were free! These can also be used to retain headset parts and even cassettes. Now whenever I need these parts I know exactly where to look.
2. 35mm Film Container
Very few of you if any still use film cameras but I bet you have at least a few of those film containers lying around. These containers are great for keeping track of small parts in your work area. Typically they are opaque so I took pictures of what was being stored inside and printed them out on small labels. I then affixed each label to a container and used a few pieces of clear tape over them. The clear tape will protect the image from greasy fingers when working on my bikes.
You can use any small container for this purpose, even glass ones like baby food jars. I like these because they are small and durable. I also use these to carry small parts in my hydration pack like SRAM power links, misc. nuts or bolts, Marzocchi fork air fitting adapter, etc. In pack with fewer compartments these work great for keeping things organized.
3. Coffee Container
Coffee and mountain bikes go together like peanut butter and jelly. So it wouldn’t surprise you that coffee cans are also useful for keeping bike parts clean and organized. I’ve used steel ones and plastic ones for not only holding parts but cleaning them as well. Being able to drop in parts, add a solution and clean them off with an old toothbrush is very handy. You can even seal the container and reuse the fluid another time.
I haven’t had the need to wash any parts lately so I am just using one or two to hold old wheel skewers and spokes. These work well for holding a few commonly used tools too.
4. Bladder Dryer
I know it sounds gross right but I promise it’s good. Ever get ready for a ride only to find out that your hydration bladder is moldy? Or worse yet that is was in the tube and you didn’t find out till you’re on the trail and you take your first pull. Ugh…been there…done that. Well not anymore.
I can’t take credit for this one because I saw it on the internet (so it must be true) but I did improve on the version I saw. I found an Aluminum clothing hanger that I wasn’t using. I cut it on one side and curled the sharp ends so they wouldn’t snag my bladder. I also bent the top one out a bit to secure the tube. I like the Aluminum because it won’t rust and I can bend it to fit my needs. Other hanger materials can be used too. Steel ones can be bent but they will rust if left untreated and plastic ones won’t rust but can’t be bent. Best part is it comes with a hook so you can hang it anywhere.
5. Tire Rack
In a previous post, I admitted to being a tire whore. Well I have so many I had to store them somewhere and the floor wasn’t working. While I was installing a closet organizer it came to me. Why can’t I just store tires like I store my clothes? While digging through the garage I found a couple of J-hooks and a round rod for a Yakima roof rack. I screwed the J-hooks into the studs and then just laid the rod across. All you have to do is drop one side, slide the tires on, and then placed the end back onto the J-hook. Works really well although it is not secured in anyway so care must be taken when putting on or taking off tires.
We all need to throw away less and reuse more. I don’t want the only mountains I can ride be mountains of garbage. These are some of my favorites, what about you? Let me know how you’ve reused an item. I’m always looking for new ideas and I’d love to start posting them on our Google+ page.