Bike Reins




About: I am an American teaching English at Shangluo University, Shaanxi. I like making machines that do interesting but fairly useless things - I call them Quixotic Machines.

This is a somewhat crazy idea that actually is useful. Occasionally I like to sit upright on my bike without bending over to hold onto the handlebars - but I don't like to ride "no hands" - which is strange because I do like to ride a unicycle. So got this idea to make some reins and surprisingly they work quite well.

Of course you have to be careful, it is potentially dangerous and you have no brakes - kind of like riding a unicycle.

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Step 1: Cut Ends Off Bungee Cord

I used a hard rubber core bungee cord that does not stretch easily. The length is about 120 cm. Cut the ends off and burn the nylon coating on the ends to keep from unraveling.

Then use will need some stiff wire for the next step.

Step 2: Form a Loop at the Ends, Wrap With Wire and Tape

I folded over a loop of about 20 cm of the bungee cord. Then wrap the loop together with stiff wire. I had some heavy magnetic wire for this talk.

Then tape with duct tape. You do not want the ends coming apart while you are riding.

Step 3: Mount on Handlebars and Go Riding.

The final product is about 70 cm long.

Loop the two ends over the ends of handlebars and you are ready to use.

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    15 Discussions


    5 years ago

    you could fashion a second cable to pull the brakes? with a loose slip knot or brackets?

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I improvised reins like this on a bike trail once. I used to ride all the time upright, no hands, but now it feels unstable ( maybe narrower, high pressure tyres ? ) I wanted to give my wrists a rest, so just unzipped the removable arms from my jacket and tied them to the bar ends. The sleeves are a thin, non stretch hi-vis material, connected across the shoulders. They worked perfectly.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Nice. It surprises people to hear how actually stable bike "reins" are. You should post a video for the non-believers.


    3 years ago

    I've made something like this when playing cowboys. All I did was tie rope the handle bars and was all set.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yeah that sounds even more stable. Just did it for a lark but it actually is a very comfortable way to sit upright for a while.
    Don't think our idea will take off though.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Yeah, I didn't like leaning over so much either.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I agree, very dangerous. I have ridden all my life without a helmet, including biking crossing the US. I also ride my unicycle without a helmet. Very crazy and I don't recommend it for anyone.
    Surprisingly you feel very in control with the reins.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Having made and tried these, I like your quote "Surprisingly you feel very in control with the reins.".

    It made me wonder just exactly what your definition of out-of-control would entail.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Im going to take this one down. But let me ask first, did you use the hard bungee. Any old bungee wont work because they are too soft. The hard bungee, like truckers use, barely stretch. I still use mine all the time.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It seems a shame to take this one down, it gave my mate a laugh. I used one like you recommended which had almost zero stretch. I can just imagine the extra fun with a stretchy one! In my imagination is where it will stay, although I could have made two, one unstretchy for me and one stretchy one for my mate, which might have been even funnier.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I said I'd try this and I did. It gave my fellow riding companion a laugh and me a scare. It was very similar to how I would imagine riding a bike made out of cooked spaghetti would feel, but without the advantage of a nice spaghetti sauce at the end.

    Suffice to say, it's an experience I can't see myself repeating in the near future despite it's obvious thrill factor. Or the far future either.

    I did almost solve your brakes problem though as I didn't realise until I stopped and took the rope off (why didn't I leave it on in case I changed my mind, I suspect some nutters might ask) that I'd got the right hand one looped around my front brake. Fortunately I didn't pull too hard on it when I used it or I might have found myself in front of the bike as I bounced down the road.

    I daren't risk following you, god knows what you'll come up with next and I have an adventurous but gullible nature so I'm afraid I might find your next mad genius idea too inviting and potentially fatal. As it is, I count myself lucky to have survived this one.