Monday, August 6, 2012

DIY bicycle skirt guard!

While watching the Olympics, I've been working out how to make a skirt guard for my bike. I like to ride around in normal clothes including skirts and dresses, and as with many before me, the hem would get caught in the spokes or the brakes or between the tires and fenders. So, I started poking around the internet and there are apparently many versions of these! There was even one on Etsy I really liked, but I didn't want to pay that much for it (I'm sure it's well made and worth it, but still...).

So, after carefully examining the ones online that I liked best (as carefully as you can with tiny pictures anyway), I figured I would try to make one myself. It took some trial and error to get the proportions right, but the end result:
DIY bicycle skirt guard
Right side: skirt guard has to go above chain
DIY bicycle skirt guard
 Left side: skirt guard has to go around lock bracket

Here are the components of the skirt guard (per side):
  • Mason line - also know as Seine twine? It's really hard to search Mason line on the internet without coming up with a lot of sites on the Mason-Dixon line, but mason line is readily available at Home Depot and comes in bright colors; the main advantage of this material is that it's supposed to be weather resistant: the brand I got claims to be "rot proof" and to resist oil, gas, and most chemicals; another brand I considered claims to be resistant to mildew, moisture, and dryness
  • 1 split ring - I know it as a keyring, D gave me the technical name
  • 1 Velcro wrap - D's idea, it's perfect!
  • 15 micro binder clips - if you're like me and you don't want to drill holes in your fenders, this works, though you might need a lip on your fender so that the clip stays in place
  • Super glue - to secure the knots
So I might do a more detailed write-up later, but having gone through this once, I think I could do better next time. Not that I'm unhappy with the result, but perhaps I would want to try different techniques (different knots? crocheted?) and different materials (reflective cord?). For now, it serves its function of protecting my skirt, and I think it looks pretty cute in DIY kind of way.

bicycle skirt guard, milk crate on globe daily 2
Orange is a readily available DIY color

Bicycling in recent media

Whoops, I accidentally deleted my original post on recent bicycling media items...

Anyway, this blog isn't supposed to limited to riding my bike, but that's naturally received a lot of my attention lately. I haven't read all of these to completion, but they definitely touch on specific topics that I am interested in, so maybe I'll comment on them thematically at a later date:

My friend P (who sent me the WNYC link) also recently found a contest run by the Paris Review in which you could win a bike if you could describe what's happening in the picture below, 1) in 100 words or less, and 2) in the style of Elizabeth Bishop, Ray Bradbury, Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway, or P. G. Wodehouse. I happen to love some of Joan Didion's essays, but alas! I missed the deadline.
Notice the skirt guard and chain guard; this bike is not American