Archive for February, 2011

Bicycle Roof Racks/Carriers for Bikes with Fenders

I like to put my bike on a rack on the roof of my car because I don’t have a garage to accidentally drive into while my bike is still loaded and I like to be able to access the tailgate of my station wagon while I have a bike on the car. I prefer wheel-off fork mounts rather than the upright wheel-on mounts with arms that hold your bike down. I have long front fenders on my bikes and this can cause problems as when you remove the front wheel and drop the bike down, the fender will hit the tray.

I thought I had solved the problem by cutting a hole in my tray to allow the fender to drop through, and while somewhat awkward, this did work until I built my last bike with a front fender that comes inches from the ground.

While the fender still made it without hitting the roof of my car, I had lowered the fender struts so much, that they now hit the side of the tray. Fed up and not wishing to drill new holes in my nice fenders I decided to look for a two piece fork mount rack.

Continue reading ‘Bicycle Roof Racks/Carriers for Bikes with Fenders’


Specialites TA Pedal Dust Cap Spanner/Wrench

If you have a pair of TA Pedals you’ll notice that they have very nice knurled aluminum dust caps. While the dust caps conveniently have grease ports you may wish to overhaul the pedal from time to time. The caps have three equally spaced notches for a spanner but are smaller than say a bottom bracket cup which might take a similar spanner.

Not wishing to mar the caps by using pliers and some kind of padding to remove them, I have searched unsuccessfully for the proper tool and not only haven’t I found one but I haven’t found any record of one in TA literature, etc. I decided to make a few by drawing them and having them cut with a laser cutter, which at least where I go is very affordable.

The place where I went takes encapsulated postscript files (EPS), so I just drew the wrench in AutoCad and then opened it in Illustrator and saved it as an EPS file.

Knowing that the laser has a slight width or kerf, I drew the shape at exactly the size of the dust cap, hoping that the thickness of the beam would remove just enough extra material to allow me to get the spanner on the dust cap. I had him cut these out of 16 gauge (roughly 1/16″ thick) stainless thinking that would be plenty strong enough.

When I got them back, they fit absolutely perfectly, but I noticed two small issues: 1) While 1/16″ thick stainless steel is probably strong enough, the dust caps are aluminum and teeth that thin would probably bite into the aluminum if I ever had a really stuck dust cap and 2) when the laser starts and stops a cut it removes a bit of extra material. For whatever reason the laser started and stopped the inner cutout right at a tooth, weakening one of the three teeth on each spanner.

To solve both of these issues I simply glued two spanners together with Marine 5200, being careful to alternate the flawed teeth.

If you want to have some of these cut for yourself, here is the EPS file:

WordPress doesn’t allow EPS files, so I added the PDF extension. Download the file (right click on the link and save as…) and replace the PDF extension with an EPS extension and you can then open it in Illustrator.

One thing to be cautious of: if you make some of these, the kerf size increases with the thickness of the material, so the tool may fit too loosely. Check with the laser operator. Currently the shape is drawn at the exact size of the dust cap and the kerf with 16 gauge stainless shrinks it just enough for a snug fit.