Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bicycle Parts Make Every Home Project Better

So I have something to admit. Living as a renter out here in a maintenance-free home has softened me up to home improvement projects. Compared to living in Monona where I was spending an average of a couple of hours per week either pushing a mower, cleaning a gutter or painting a wall, the living out here is pretty easy.

As a renter I am not expected to lift so much as a hammer to tack in some loose trim or to screw in a light bulb. The (tiny) front yard is all maintained by the HOA to private country club standards. The back yard is mostly rock and low-maintenance gardens.

But I enjoy most home projects. Not the big jobs like tearing a bathroom down to the studs and rebuilding (I did that last year), but the small things that can make a big difference.

One of those very minor projects I tackled this weekend on the rental home was to repair the simple gate latches. Yeah, big deal, right? But as I mentioned above, it vastly improved our place since we were tired of reaching over the gate and jiggling a rusty and bent latch.

So where do bike parts come in? Inspired by the gate I saw at my friends Don and Stacey's San Jose place, I hit one of the tub o' bike bits and grabbed a smooth Teflon-covered braided stainless steel brake cable and a cantilever straddle wire hanger nut and bolt to function as a remote.

Nicely capped with an alloy cable end and well-lubed with a coat of marine grease on both the latch and the hinges, it is quiet and functions great. Good enough that I hit the other gate with a similar setup. Wow, that's a lot of copy for something so trivial. Maybe I should be working on a home project...

1 comment:

Doubledrumlin said...

I'm thinking you should slap an old down tube friction shifter on to the end of the cable. You know, to give you something more substantial to grab onto.