Life Archives

The 60 Cent Bicycle Lock

ClevisClipOver the years I have discovered lots of tips, tricks, workarounds and low cost solutions to otherwise expensive problems. Most of these are so simple and mundane that I rarely think about sharing them unless I’m asked or it’s pertinent to the solution to a specific problem that I am helping someone solve. Today I was reminded of how useful some of these solutions can be.

A few years ago when I first began working on and building electrically assisted bikes, one of the first improvements I discovered that an electric bike needs is a quality kick stand. However, whether you’re using a center stand or something like the rear mounted Greenfield kickstand, none of them seem to come with a locking mechanism that keeps them from folding up if pointed down hill or bumped from the rear. To fix this short coming and make an already stable kickstand even better, I discovered that locking the front wheel eliminated this problem. The easiest way to accomplish this was to squeeze the front brake lever tight and insert a small pin into the opening created between the brake housing and where the cable attaches to the lever. For this I use a 2″ clevis pin clip sometimes called a hitch pitch clip although any type of pin would work. (See pictures)

In addition to making a cheap, simple & effective parking brake I had also assumed that this brake lock could double as a good theft deterrent as well. Not because it’s difficult to undo but simply because it will add a view seconds to the time it takes for someone to figure out why your bike won’t move. Using a nail instead of a clevis pin clip might be even better as a theft deterrent since it would be harder to spot.

Locking your bike each & every time you take a short trip into a store is a pain. Not locking your bike is an invitation to any would be bike thief. Doing something as simple as locking one of the wheels will not only increase the amount of time it takes for someone to take off on your bike but because they will no doubt look very clumsy or stupid as they try riding or pushing it away with the wheel locked, they might also attract the unwanted attention of any bystanders.

Clevis pin lock

Brake lever locked using a clevis pin.
For theft protection a nail or similar would be harder to spot.

This morning I was running a couple of errands in downtown Carlisle on my E-bike. My last stop was the Carlisle Post Office where I parked in the large municipal parking lot using an angled parking space on the left side of the right of way, directly adjacent to the front door of the post office. The bike was pulled in and parked in the same manner as the other motor vehicles which is facing away from the post office. As I walked back out of the post office I immediately saw a kid apparently trying to push my bike away. My immediate thought was to holler at him but then quickly noticed that the kickstand was up and this action would undoubtedly cause my bike to be dropped. Since I was in his blind spot and only about 40 feet away I decided to quietly walk up to the bike and grab hold of the rear rack. As soon as my hand was on the rack I began to put the rear mounted kick stand down as I said in a calm voice, “hi can I help you”. The kid spun around while surprisingly still hanging on to the handlebars with one hand and did his best to appear nonchalant while uttering a response that said something like “oh,… hi,… just lookin,.. nice bike. To this I said “thanks, it’s an electric police bike”. (see picture) I’m not sure why I said this but it certainly had the desired effect. “Can I answer any questions for you?” By now he was looking a little pale and his eyes were darting all around like he was about to be pounced upon by the police department. He replied with “er,.. no thanks, see ya later,  turned away, triped over the divider curb in front of him and stumbled away as fast as he could with out actually running.

Clevis pin home

Home for clevis pin when not in use.

As it turned out, this kid was actually a young adult in his middle 20s. His sloppy dress, shaved head and smallish 5’8″, 150 lb build made him look like a teenager from a distance. In addition my bike is a large 22″ MTB frame. This not only made this smallish person appear even smaller than he was but had he attempted to mount the bike he would have found it quite awkward to say the least.

So,… did my 60 cent clip save my bike? I’ll never know for sure. What I do know for sure however is, had this person been able to push my bike away unheeded & I had walked out of the post office just 10 seconds later, my bike & would-be bike thief would have been far enough down the street that I may not have seen him in time to take chase. And, had he been able to get on the bike without toppling over he would have been no doubt gone for good. Of course, If I ever did get it back it would almost certainly be stripped of all it’s electronics & e bike related components.

Nothing will make your bicycle theft proof, so your goal is to simply make it as difficult, awkward looking and time consuming as possible for anybody but you to take off with your bike. Parking your bike in a well lit, conspicuous spot, locking your brakes. removing a wheel or your bike seat & of course using a bicycle lock are all well proven methods of slowing or stopping bicycle theft.

Use the comment box below & leave us some of your tips & tricks for thwarting bicycle theft or any other of your time & money saving ideas. After all, saving money is one of the big motivators for using your bike more often & as members of the cycling community we should consider the sharing of ideas one of our membership requirements .

Thank You,

Matt

Marin e bike conversion

I’ve been told this looks like a police bike. Perhaps I should market it as such.

Marin e-bike

Police Bike? No, just another EZgo-Now E bike conversion.

e bike don't drive

Borrowed from the $100 A Barrel artical by Monkeylogical.

There may be a new reason for not getting a drivers license these days & it has nothing to do with the price of gas or the environment.

It would appear as if the DMV (Department of motor vehicles) is being used by many other non-related state agencies and possibly even some private corporations to collect debt or impose hardships on its citizens. To be sure, the DMV carries a very big stick, but is it fair to use that stick on people whose debt, fine or crime had absolutely nothing to do with ones driver privileges? Some people don’t think so and that includes the DMV  themselves. Please read this excerpt from THE WIRED below.

The driver’s license has become something it was never intended to be: a badge of good citizenship. Pay your bills to city and state, pay your child support, don’t get caught using drugs, and the state will let you keep on trucking. Screw up, and they’ll clip your wings. And for those who don’t get the message and stay on the roads? In most states, getting caught driving without a license, or with one that’s been suspended or revoked, means handcuffs, a trip down to the local jail, and having your car towed to the pound.
 
In other words, it’s serious shit.
 
Most businesses and state agencies have a problem with outstanding debt. Bounced checks, IOUs, stolen credit cards – it all adds up. Some organizations write off anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of their debts as “uncollectable.”
Most agencies, that is, except for the DMV. “We don’t have debt,” says Lewis, who oversees all of the Massachusetts Registry’s computer and information systems. Last year, the Massachusetts Registry collected more than US$660 million in fees and fines; less than $600,000 came back as bounced checks – a whopping 0.1 percent. “How can you afford to stiff us?” Lewis asks rhetorically. “Whatever it is you have, we’ll take it. We’ll pull your driver’s license. We’ll take your title. We just don’t have bad debt.” Lewis pauses a moment to consider his words, then shrugs, his point made: At the Massachusetts Registry, “we walk a very fine line with incredible power over people.”
 
Increasingly, lawmakers around the country are employing that power to enforce public policies that have nothing to do with driving or motor vehicles. Lewis and his counterparts in other states aren’t happy with the change, but there’s little they can do when legislatures hand down new rules.
 
“Every governmental agency is looking for every means possible to…enforce the regulations and policies in front of it,” says Barry Goleman, President of AAMVANET, a computer network run by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators that links together the computers of the United States’s 51 motor vehicle agencies. And increasingly, says Goleman, those state agencies are turning towards the DMVs as a source of data about the state’s citizens, a way of providing services, and ultimately, a means of enforcing policy.
 
The DMVs fit the bill perfectly. On one hand, the DMV database lists virtually every man, woman, and teenager of each state more accurately than the state’s own census or tax roles. (Even people who don’t drive usually end up getting “identification” cards, issued by the state DMVs, so they can do simple things like write a check or buy an alcoholic drink.) On the other hand, the DMV has a unique means of forcing citizens to comply with state edicts. In short, the DMV is a one-stop-shop for state agencies that want to reach out and affect our lives.
 
Ironically, this concentration of information, power, and responsibilities has received scant attention from traditional privacy and civil libertarian advocates. The American Civil Liberties Union, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, and even Robert Smith, editor of the esteemed The Privacy Journal, performed an exercise in collective buck-passing when called to comment for this article. The only group that has made any statement on the issue at all is the American Automobile Association: “Problems or violations of the law not having anything to do with the operation of a motor vehicle should not result in the loss or suspension of a driver’s license,” says AAA spokesperson Geoff Sundstrom.
 
Instead, it has been motor vehicle administrators themselves who have been honking the horn, warning that their agencies are becoming Big Brother incarnate. The only problem is that nobody is listening.

For the complete article click “The government is using your driver’s license to play Big Brother” then tell us how you feel about this.

I for one, had never given this much of a thought. But having lost my own drivers license for a period of time about four years ago I became very much aware of not only the hardships of getting around without a driver’s license but of the incredible bureaucracy, absolute power and lack of common sense surrounding the DMV and its regulations and requirements.

Well sometimes bad things can have good results. For me not having a driver’s license took me back to one of my favorite past times which was bicycling. From there I began to explore the world of electrically assisted bikes and I haven’t looked back since. No car, no problem. Two wheels are better than four and a whole lot cheaper. At the bottom of this page are a few quick reads that might get you thinking about the economics of writing verses driving.

And if this sparked your curiosity about E-bikes why not give me a call and come on over to the EZgo-Now E-bike shop. I have some terrific deals right now on cash and carry E-bike conversions as well as E-bike kits from the number one kit builder in the USA EBikeKit.com. CLICK HERE FOR Summer Sales.

Can E-Bikes Displace Cars?

Mongoose Maxim Conversion

Dual suspension Mongoose with rear mounted gear drive & 36 volts of LiFeP04 in the bag.A STEAL at $896

Why I sold my car for an Electric Bike

10 ways an E-bike can save money 

Electric Bike vs Electric Car: The Best Commuter Vehicle 

 

ELECT. Bike Pusher TrailerTRAILER

Let 1 Trailer power all the Bikes in your garage.$699  

E-Bikes & This n’ That

electric bikes
I haven’t done much writing in the last few weeks so I started browsing the Internet for some inspiration. Perhaps something new and original like “The Revenge of the Electric Bike”. Well alas no such luck. However I am continually encouraged and intrigued by the e-bike markets on-going progress and some of the nifty new ideas I so often come across.

On the on-going progress of e-bikes  side of things is the time and money some of the major players in the transportation industry are putting into developing e-bike technology. Please don’t mistake this as a belief that the future of the e-bike is in the hands of these captain’s of industry. Quite the contrary. However, it does show that the the e-bike has come a long way from that of a passing curiosity or just another recreational plaything.  E-bikes are real transportation and are here to stay.

When companies like Daimler Benz, Volkswagon and Bosch dump hundreds of millions of dollars into the research and development of e-bikes and ebike drive systems we can be sure that e-bikes are more than just a passing fad. Have a look at some of these prototypes and products.

"Daimler Smart E-bike"

Daimler Smart E-bike

Edmunds Inside LineDaimler Will Build Smart Ebike.

Electric Bike ShedBosch Electric Bike Drive System. Future of e-bikes?

"bosch-ebike-drive", "ebike kit"

Bosch Electric Bike Drive System

 

 

engadget.comVolkswagen rolls out foldable ‘Bike’ electric bicycle concept.

"Volkswagen electric bicycle","electric bicycle"

Volkswagen’s electric bicycle concept

New ebikes, "what' next in ebikes?"

Limited by only your imagination

Auto MottoWhat’s next in electric bikes

 

 

 

 

 

And of course there’s always the “that’s a neat idea” department. Here’s a few with merit.

 

 

 

gizmag.comStudent-designed bicycle device designed to save lives.

Light Lane – A laser light bike line.

"safety light",

Emits a laser image ahead of the rider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York TimesThe Commuter Bike Redesigned and Electrified.

Yike Bike, "folding bike", ebike

The Yike Bike


Naturally some ideas are better than others.

I New Idea Homepage


Bike lock, "Bicycle lock"

If your going green, well why not?