Can't live without these
Time to raid the bathroom and the cupboard under the kitchen and ransack your shed or garage. There’s loads of useful items you could be using.
RainX, and other products like it, is designed to help your car windscreen clearer when it rains. It makes spray and rain harder to cling on to the glass. Sound like it could be useful when mountain biking doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Especially good for goggles.
2. Bent coat hanger
More and more mountain bikes are coming with at least partially internally routing cabling. Stealth dropper posts are one of the main reasons. With a canny bit of bending you can turn a coat hanger hook into a ‘cable fishing’ rod. If you’re cable portals are too small for thick coat hanger wire then you can try a bent spoke or paperclip.
3. Old water bottle and spirit
This is for component deep-cleaning not tramp-style substance abuse. Stick your dirty old bits (chain) in the bottle, add some white spirit or similar solvent, put the cap on the bottle and shake vigorously like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. You could use an old jam jar but you have to be careful when shaking it, for obvious glass-smashing reasons
4. Calpol syringes
One for all you parents out there. If you’re a parent with a young child, chances are you’ll have acquired a healthy stash of medicine syringes. Don’t let them fester in the kitchen drawer any longer. They make for ideal syringes for accurate and neat tubeless sealant dispensers, or even for topping us disc brake reservoir with brake fluid.
5. Freezer bags or breast-milk bags
Who needs a waterproof smartphone when you have these things? The breast-milk bags are particularly perfect as they are just the correct dimensions and have double lip sealing.
6. Black & Decker Workmate
AKA a soft-jaw vice on legs. Ideal for holding dropper post stanchions. Also very useful for pressing in new shock bushings and, if combined with canny use of a socket set, can be also be used to removing stuck shock bushings too.
7. Old toothbrushes
Toothbrushes don’t last as long as they used to do they? Maybe it’s just us getting more aggressive with our brushing as we get older? Anyway, toothbrushes make for excellent nook and cranny cleaning brushes. Jockey wheels, cassettes, chainrings and such.
8. Kitchen foil
Some riders swear by lining their cycling shoes with tinfoil during winter. The idea being that the foil keeps in any heat generated by your body and helps keep your feet from chilling. Best not put it back in the kitchen drawer once you’re done with it, mind.
10. Silicone grease
You may have some of this for refreshing your old cracking-up car window rubber seals (I think that’s why I have some anyway). For mountain bikes this stuff is very handy for freeing up sticky brake pistons. Use sparingly and apply carefully with a cotton bud and you can finally cure your annoying brake calliper of that pesky pad drag.
11. Rubber gloves
Pictured here are nitrile gloves from B&Q but you can just use a pair of washing up gloves. Use them for what? Protecting your hands when working with noxious brake fluid. Giving you extra grip and purchase when servicing rear shock air cans. Keeping in your pack as emergency glove liners when the weather’s trying to kill you. And plenty more uses.
As a mountain biker any newspaper you buy is more likely to get stuffed inside a soggy Five Ten before it ever has chance to actually get read. Honestly, soggy cycling shoes are what’s keeping the UK newspaper industry afloat.
13. Ikea bag
Everyone has a big blue and yellow bag for carting bike kit around it. It’s actually the law. Don’t break the law, get an Ikea bag. And don’t think you can get away with the smaller one. Get the big one.
14. Garden table cover
You know the sort of thing, similar to fabric of the Ikea bag above and designed to fit fully over a garden table. Turn it upside down and what do you get? The world’s best – and most affordable – car boot liner, that’s what.
15. Oil filter wrench
Doubles up as a makeshift chain whip.