Introduction: Bicycle Defense Kit

The Bicycle Defense Kit (BDK) offers options for dealing with aggressive motorists.  Contained within an altoids tin, the 8 tools vary in detectability, potential to cause damage, and legality.

Specifically, cyclists can:
1. Issue "citizen citations" with official-ish tickets.
2. Label offending vehicles with an "I was a jerk to a cyclist" sticker.
3. Introduce the risk of paint damage with a Jolly Rancher.
4. Create certain coating cremation via DOT3 brake fluid.
5. Make cars stink worse than their exhaust with a carefully-placed stink bomb.
6. Throw a trusty bolt to dent offending traffic as it passes.
7. Lock out loony drivers by filling their keyholes with super glue.
8. Cut through tire valve stems with a utility blade.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't do anything you're not fully prepared to take responsibility for.  This project is meant to increase cyclist confidence, not fatalities.

You can order one made by me for $20, or build a cooler version yourself for ~$10.

Step 1: Set Your Design Goals

This is a universal that I'm slowly and surely trying to integrate into projects.  Sometimes, I even remember to think about what I'm trying to build before wasting a lot of time making the wrong thing:)

My main goals with the BDK were:
1. Cost: <$10 in parts and very little time to build so I can happily sell tem at $20 each.
2. Size/weight: small/light enough that people might actually carry it.
3. Subtlety: objects close enough to everyday detritus as to permit "plausible deniability."
4. Variety: different severities of revenge will help me ride more confidently and encourage fair responses by cyclists.  U-locks should sometimes meet windows, but these occasions ought to be few and far between.

Next, I kinda just brainstormed and experimented until I was happy with how close I got to ghese goals.  Here's a much better overview of the design process than I can provide.

Step 2: Get Your Ingredients

Here's what was used to create the BDK:
Paper for parking tickets: I used a thicker orange stock, to make it look all nice and official-ish
Sticker material: these were laser-printer-compatible rectangular stickers, ~3"x5"
Contact lens case, preferably with thin plastic so you can cut it in half
Brake fluid, DOT3

Stink bomb materials:
Valerian root capsules: 100 for like $9 at Walgreen's
Vinegar, white
Salt

Syringe (to make it easy for moving brake fluid and stink bomb juice)
Bolt, slightly shorter than length of altoids tin and nice and heavy.
I think I used 4"x3/8"
Super glue: generic at Walgreen's is way cheap
Jolly rancher.  The car won't care what flavor:)
Utility blade.  Something like 10 cents each when you get a case of 100 at Home Depot
Altoids tin case.  Use one after eating the altoids, or buy a little metal case of your choosing.

Step 3: Prepare Stink Bombs

Nothing too complicated here: valerian root + vinegar + a little salt = stink bomb.  Initially, I cut the valerian root capsules open. Then, I realized how much easier it'd be to twist one end of the capsule until it comes off.  Mix it together, and you're good to go. Not too stinky initially, but I think it's approximately rotten flesh after a coupla hours exposed to air...

Step 4: Fill Stink Bomb and Brake Fluid Chambers

This is where the syringe comes in handy.  Note how many milliliters of material fit in a contact lens case to make it easier for filling multiple containers.  Close the lids tightly, rinse in between as well as afterwards, and of course make it clear that the syringe and lens cases shouldn't be used for non-bike-defense purposes...

Step 5: Create Citations

I wanted to make the citations a balance between official and philosophical.  For me, this meant coming up with an official(ish) front side and a lengthy philosophical explanation on the back.

Click on the pictures for images of the front, back, and 3-per-page layouts (pdf).

Step 6: Make Stickers

Mine say "I was a JERK to a cyclist", but feel free to come up with your own.  I've had suggestions for "I was a jerk to a stripper" from another pedicabber and just a big "D" (for pasting over the "H" in Hummer).  Source files below.

Step 7: Pack It All Together

After grabbing the rest of your ingredients, stuff it all into an Altoids tin or whatever container you choose.  I like organizing the contents so that one needs to go deeper into the tin, consciously choosing not to use less controversial remedies like a citation, before reaching the serious stuff.  Chunks of bike tube can make a convenient attachment device for carrying on your handlebars / belt / wherever.  Also, make sure you're not building an uber-heavy kit nobody will ever carry on their bike.

Step 8: Use, Wisely

Screwing up somebody's beloved paint job can be serious stuff. Doesn't matter how fit you are if it's car vs. cycle: the 4 wheels tend to win.  Don't be stupid about this.  Ride safely, confidently, and, when it's warranted, vengefully:)

Comments

author
Computer__Geek (author)2014-06-03

I think I will just make stickers, but in such a way that they are easy to remove.

author
prank (author)2009-11-05

Look, I love vandalism as much as the next guy, but surely you don't think screwing up someone's paint job is going to make the streets any better for bikers.
And to make things worse, you're trying to sell a kit for car vandalism at a ridiculous markup.  With that, you've lost any moral high ground you might have had, and it was damn shaky to begin with.  A capitalist with crappy, poorly thought-out morals masquerading as a bike-rights anarchist is a sad sight.

That being said, I love those Jerk stickers!  Genius!  I think it's certainly the most effective idea from this 'ible, and wicked funny to boot.

I don't mean to discourage you.  Well, actually, I do.  And insult you a bit while I'm discouraging you, more to get your attention through moral outrage than anything else.  But it's the "us-vs-them, two-wheels-vs-four-wheels" mentality that I want to discourage, not the desire to fix the crappy situation that is riding a bike in america.  That's incredibly satisfying in the short term, but I challenge you to explain to me how using your kit would improve the lives of you/bikers/drivers five minutes after you ding up someone's car.  If you're going to sell this kit, you should probably have a clear answer to this question, because you're going to get it a lot.

author
mgalyean (author)prank2012-07-22

Great and thoughtful comment. Agreed.

author
_Scratch_ (author)prank2009-11-08

Hmm i wonder how long that took you to write?

author
mgalyean (author)_Scratch_2012-07-22

Not all valuable communication fits in a tweet. Soon, if the literacy-challenged have their way, one's entire life will fit in a tweet that can be repurposed later on the inevitable tombstone. The bias towards short sound-bite sized infotainment will be the end of us as a civilization.

author
chichimus (author)2011-10-01

have any jerk stickers for bikes? like the one today who blasted through a stop sign and through the people in the cross walk, or the one who almost ran into me on the side walk (funny how you can't see where you are riding if you aren't looking), or the ones who drop their bikes "for a moment" at the door of the shop they've gone into.

do like the idea of the brake fluid though. some of the offending bikes I've seen look far too shiny. Maybe make up a pedestrian defence kit! just have to include a 'spoke rod'

happy walking

author
munineye (author)2011-07-23

Awesome 'ible!

My only concern might be that if the offending driver sees your retaliation against them immediately, you're in way more trouble with the law than they are. I live in a very bike-friendly town, and still, if a cyclist is nearly run off the road (or actually killed), the driver is never charged. But if a cyclist retaliates, the cops are on them faster than stink on you-know-what.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is don't immediately stick a Jolly Rancher on the offending car or break windows where people can see you, etc. Be smart, be safe, and above all, don't get caught!

author
Fred82664 (author)2010-04-28

better yet ride your bike with a colt 45 on your hip and a flag that says watch out for me or will feel me !

author
microdot (author)2009-11-16

You could carry a tube of Vaseline lip balm to squirt on a window or two.  It's annoying and a little difficult to remove but won't hurt the paint.  But "Prank" is right. Vandalism is wrong, m'kay?

author
Colonel88 (author)microdot2010-01-02

No. Put it on the car door for "WTF Can't open the door, it's all slippery..."

author
thisjustin (author)2009-11-06

Hey this is a pretty awesome instructable, thanks for it. A couple things were a little vague (at least to me). Could you please tell me the intended use of the brake fluid, and the jolly rancher? I didn't understand their purposes, nor their implementation. Thanks!

author
liseman (author)thisjustin2009-11-10

hi thisjustin,

jolly ranchers are really sticky when you lick them.  supposedly, slapping this on car paint results in the paint coming off when the driver attempts to remove it, unless they carefully melt the jolly rancher off.

the brake fluid is another way to eat paint, just much quicker:)

have a good one,
luke

author
toekneebullard (author)2009-11-06

This should get some interesting comments. 

Have fun on your bike!

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