The Frugal Cyclist, June 2009

The Frugal CyclistA compendium of bicycling tips to save you money:

DIY Bicycle-Powered USB Device Charger

From Lifehacker: “Last week we took a look at MightyMintyBoost, a solar-powered USB charger. If you liked the idea but can’t count on the sun shining, this USB charger runs on the power of your bicycle pedals.” [link]

Be a pedal pusher

From Rob Kerr of the Bend Bulletin: “When shopping for a bike, ask yourself, what kind of rider are you? For those who want a good bike within any price range, Frey says finding it requires self-reflection. Buy a more durable bike up front, save for it, and you’re more likely to use it.” [link]

Bike sales booming as recession-hit travellers turn green

From ClickGreen: “The UK cycle market is braced for a record year of sales as the recession bites and people look to switch to more sustainable modes of transport. The Association of Cycle Traders says business has soared to unprecedented levels with 20 percent sales increases from this time last year.” [link]

Before You Do A Charity Ride

From “Before you sign up for a charity ride, it is a good idea to check out the charity. I recently discovered a website that rates the efficiency of charities. The site is called” [link]

Not Just Present at Work, but Presentable

From The New York Times: “Like many bike commuters, Ms. Cortes-Comerer speaks about the time she spends on the bicycle each morning as a revelation, the joys of which easily offset the associated indignities. But she also acknowledges the disadvantages of a form of transportation that can leave a person sweaty and dirty at the beginning of each day at work. With the hottest months of the year looming, concerns about personal hygiene on the bike are heightened.” [link]

U-G-L-Y Your Bike

From Make Digital comes a guide to deterring thieves from stealing your bike by camouflaging its fineness and making them think its worthless. Uglifying your bike might be a bit drastic, but if it’ll keep your ride from being stolen, it’s worth considering. [link]

Build a Bicycle Trailer

Mother Earth News periodically posts articles from past issues of their publication, and one of their entries is Build a Bicycle Trailer: “This two-wheeled bike trailer can handle many chores from carrying groceries to hauling building materials.”

Improve Your Life By Riding Your Bike to Work

Late last year, U.S.News & World Report published an article entitled “50 Ways to Improve Your Life”. One of the items on that list was Ride Your Bike to Work, which explains some of the many reasons for commuting to your job by bicycle: “You can save money on gas and get some extra exercise. The price of gas is a factor, but not the only one. Riders love the exercise and they enjoy the ride.” Unfortunately, they also indulge in a bit of fear-mongering: “The thought of urban cycling can pose a minicrisis for a newcomer. Even a 40-mph suburban road can be a daunting experience unless there’s a bike lane.” Regardless, the article provides some good info to get you started.

Bank More by Going Car-Less

EcoVelo offers an article in a similar vein, Bank More by Going Car-Less, which looks at some of the savings to be had by ditching your personal car, estimating “an average annual savings of $9,596 per year,” but also offering estimates for a few individual cities, with “Boston coming out on top (or bottom, depending upon how you look at it) with a whopping $13,490 annual savings, followed closely by New York and San Francisco.”

Pedal-powered Phone Charger

Make Digital is at it again, this time with a piece called How-To: Pedal-powered phone charger, which provides instructions for “building a simple pedal-powered cell phone charger to mount on a bicycle. The apparatus we built could be a very practical concept for those on self-supported bike tours or those living temporarily in situations without electricity.”

Cut down costs and weight: Ride a bike

Kay Luna from the Quad-City Times posted a profile of avid Quad-City bicyclist Chuck Oestreich, who says he “got his bike after ‘going to visit Aunt Sally and Uncle Will’ (That’s the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.) He spent $5 on the bicycle he pedals around Rock Island and beyond, proving that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to get the equipment you need to bike around town.” [link]

How To Prevent Bicycle Theft

The How To Fix Bikes blog has a piece on How To Prevent Bicycle Theft: “Bicycle theft is rampant in major cities and suburbs. Nothing stands in the way of a determined scumbag who wants to grab your ride away from you. But, there are some steps you can do to prevent that.”

Negotiate New Bike Savings

London Cyclist offers us Get a new bicycle for less by following these 10 rules of negotiation: “The only thing stranding between you and and riding away with a gorgeous new bike is the expensive price tag. In this article I will outline the rules of negotiating that will ensure you get a good deal.”

How Much Can I Save Bicycling to Work?

Kiplinger Magazine gives us a free online calculator that lets you compute How Much Can I Save Bicycling to Work?: “When you bike to work, it might feel like your commute is uphill both ways — until you realize the added weight you’re carrying is actually extra money in your pocket. How much money? Enter the length of your daily commute, plus any costs for parking or tolls, to quickly calculate the savings you’ll achieve by switching from four wheels to two.”

Minimal, DIY Bike Rack

Lifehacker shows us a Minimal, DIY Bike Rack, using only two cables, eye hooks, and L brackets: “We’ve always loved a good DIY bike rack, and while the previous two racks we’ve featured grew progressively more streamlined, it’s hard to imagine a more minimalist bike storage unit than this DIY rack.”

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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