DIY Options for Accessorizing Your Bike

Biking is great, but all the stuff you have to buy can add up in cost pretty quickly. And unless you’re the surgeon who pretends he’s Lance Armstrong on the weekends, you probably don’t have that much room in your budget. Not to worry. Cyclists around the country have come up with scads of innovative, inexpensive, do-it-yourself ideas for accessorizing your bike. These are just a few.

Cable Tie Snow Tires

It’s Florida. It doesn’t make sense to shell out $100 for a set of snow tires that you might not ever use. But the weather gets crazy sometimes, and surprise snow storms do happen. So what do you do if there’s snow covering the streets, and you need to get somewhere on your bike? The answer: cable ties. How does it work? Tie cable ties around the tire – about 1 tie for each spoke – and carefully snip them. The heads of the cable ties will form plastic “studs” that will give you traction as you ride through snow. There’s a down side to this. If you get a flat tire, you will have to snip off all those cable ties before you can swap out your tube. And once you’ve fixed the tire, you’ve lost all of your traction. But, hey, this is Florida, and you’ll probably only need these cable tie studs for a ride or two. The odds of you getting a flat on that one ride are pretty low. During the winter months, pack some cable ties into your tool kit so that you’ll be ready in case of snow. has a pretty good selection of cable ties.

Cable tie snow tires

Cable tie snow tires look sort of like this. Only you should use more of them and make sure the heads face the other way.

Homemade Fenders

Let’s face it, there’s nothing fashionable about that unsightly stripe of mud and grit that you get on your back when you bike fenderless on a wet day. That doesn’t mean you have to plunk down a big wad of extra cash for fenders, though. (Unless you are like me and are a complete sucker for that vintage, chrome look.) You can make your own. Here’s a bike fender made from an old plastic jug (h/t This one appears to be made of an old anti-freeze jug, but if you have old containers for detergent or bleach or anything else, I’m sure those would work too. Additionally, if you buy fenders, but don’t have eyelets for them on your bike, you can make your own eyelets too.

Kitty Litter Panniers

Transport your groceries home in panniers made out of left over kitty litter containers.

Used Inner Tubes for Lashing

If you have old inner tubes lying around, you can use them in places of bungee cords. Remove the valve stem, the the tube onto your bike rack, and voilà! A versatile, effective system for keeping your stuff from flying away.

Do you have other ideas that aren’t listed here? Have you tried these and found them to be successful? Unsuccessful? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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