Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Blinky on a Basket

I've gotten the Schwinn back into its errand guise, post-trip. That means that the seatpost has the trailer bike hitch back on, and the Wald basket I use to lug groceries around is back on the rear rack. It's just cable-tied on there, and as long as I'm not carrying a case of beer (I don't), that's probably fine.

One thing about this configuration is that putting a blinky light on the back isn't easy. The rack doesn't have anywhere to hold it. The bike doesn't have an empty set of rack eyelets to hold a mount. There's no saddlebag to hang one from, because the trailer bike mount interferes. Yes, the basket wires can accept a blinky clip, but neither securely nor silently.

After cutting a blinky slot in a Sackville Saddlesack XS the other day, I stood there in the barn, looking up at the basket-wearing Schwinn, suspended upside down from the ceiling, wondering how to get a blinky on there. Then, I had an idea -- secure a leather strap to the basket! I'm sure this has been done before, and more neatly, but here's what I did:

I measured 6 wires worth of space on the basket, which worked out to about 7 inches. I cut up a close-out leather belt from TJ Maxx with an X-Acto knife. Then I notched the back side of the belt about an inch from each end, across its width, in order to allow the thick leather to fold more readily, after which I folded the resulting "ends" back behind the rest of the strap. Next, I quickly drilled a hole through both layers of leather, to accept a bolt. Finally, I installed it on the basket by wrapping the ends around a wire, and bolting the ends in place using brass hardware (#6 machine screws, finishing washers, nuts and flat washers). And voila -- the result, as shown!

The blinky strap rides on top of the center reinforcing wire, as you can see, and is three wire-gaps wide. The outer two gaps frame the bolts and flaps. Within the inner gap sits the blinky, clear of the bolts. And the two wires framing that gap seem to keep the blinky more or less centered on the strap.

It works great in the driveway. I'll let you know how it holds up in practice. Maiden run for groceries tomorow, if the weather is still good. Chief short-term concern is that the blinky itself may be loud, vibrating away back there against the basket wires. We'll see.

All for now,


Updated: 6/16 -- I rode to the store, as I mentioned I was going to. I could hear the blinky back there; a light tapping triggered by road imperfections. But it was hard to discern against a backdrop of other bicycle sounds -- rustling plastic fenders, the hiss of the chain wrapping its way through the derailleur pulleys and around the rear sprockets, the staccato clicking of the chain rubbing against the front derailleur cage as the bent outer ring wobbles through its orbit, etc. So I'm declaring the mount a success, here.

No comments: