Bike Handlebar Mounted Hands-free Book Holder




Doing any riding on the exercise bike this year? Getting bored going nowhere fast? Don't have a TV to help the miles go by? Tried reading but discovered that sitting upright on the bike negatively impacted your work out? When my wife found herself in the same predicament, she asked me to help her out.

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Step 1: Parts and Pieces

1 - Used bicycle handlebar stem. I got this free for the asking from Mountain View Cyclery and Fitness in Post Falls. This is my recycled piece and it was the only one he had. Sorry...
1 - Book holder. Barnes and Noble sold it for $12.95. It will hold paperback and hard cover books.
1 - 1/4-20 all thread bolt. I used a 5 inch long bolt but pick one that fits your stem.
4 - flat washers. Two sized to fit the bevel inside the stem, two sized to fit flush with the outside of the stem.
4 - 1/4 inch flat washers to help hold things together.
2 - 1/4 inch nuts.
1 - 1/4 inch lock nut to make sure it stays together.
All the hardware came from my neighborhood Ace hardware store.

1 - Dremel with a cut-off wheel and grinder bit.
1 - ratchet and socket(s) sized to fit your bolt and nuts.
1 - adjustable or combination wrench sized to fit your needs.

1 - bench grinder to speed up the correction of a marginal Dremel cut.

Total cost of parts: about $15.

Step 2: Prepping the Stem.

I used the Dremel and the cut-off wheel to free-hand cut the angled section off the stem. I should have clamped it in a vice or used a band saw but I thought I could cut it close enough without going there. I got it close, but not quite close enough. I ended up using a bench grinder to flatten and smooth the cut. You could use a hack saw and a file if that's all you have available.

After that, I used the Dremel with a grinder bit to put a small bevel on the inside of the stem to help the smaller flat washer center the post assembly.

Step 3: Assemble the Post

Picture 1:
The larger flat washer had a hole slightly too large for comfort so I added a 1/4 inch washer to keep the bolt from pulling through and to make it look a little better.

Picture 2:
The assembly order for this end of the post is; 1/4 inch washer, large flat washer, small washer, 1/4 inch nut. Make sure the smaller flat washer is fairly well centered on the large washer. You could add a drop of lock-tite or something to the nut but I didn't think it was necessary. (Okay, actually I didn't think about until just now and I hope it's not needed.)

Picture 3:
Slide the post into the stem and place the smaller flat washer over the bolt. It should be just barely above the edge of the stem, again to help with centering. If it drops below the edge it may end up too loose and you could have a rattle.

Picture 4:
Center the larger washer, add the 1/4 inch washer and nut and crank it down tight. Again, lock-tite wouldn't hurt but I don't think it's needed. We'll see after it gets a few miles on it.

Step 4: Final Assembly

Now that you have the post all snugged together, it's time to add the book holder.

One of the reasons I chose the book holder from Barnes and Noble is that it had a hole in it already, right where I wanted one. And it's made by our Canadian neighbors.

So, add the next 1/4 inch washer, the book holder, the final 1/4 inch washer, and the 1/4 inch lock washer. Tighten it up good and tight. It wouldn't do to have your book go sliding away would it?

The second picture is a look at it all put together.

Step 5: Installation

Now that it's all put together, it's time to mount it on the bike.

I didn't have enough hands to fit the stem onto the handle bar and hold the camera at the same time, (and your stem will undoubtedly be different than mine) so you'll have to figure out how to actually get it on your handle bar yourself.

My stem was stretched out enough that I needed a pair of pliers to squeeze it together far enough to get the screws started again. Once I did, it was a simple matter to set it at the right angle and tighten the screws up.

Step 6: Hey! It's Done!

There you go. Now you can read and ride til you can't ride no more. For me, that's still about 20 minutes, but the wife is like the Energizer bunny.

She liked this project so much that she said more than once she was "impressed". Better praise can't be had.

After spending a few weeks thinking about how I wanted to do it and finding all the parts and pieces, actual construction only took about 2 hours.

Just in case someone gets crazy: DON'T use this as a book holder in anything other than a stationary setting. I take no responsibility for you crashing and hurting yourself. Seriously.

However, I have a few ideas about how I can modify this to hold a GPS or video camera or something of that nature. I'll post any changes I make (I think).

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    29 Discussions


    At first, I was thinking, "That's a terrible idea! It's bad enough that people try to drive a car while reading/eating/changing pants!" Then I saw it was for a stationary bike. Great idea, and nice reuse of some old bike parts!

    11 replies

    changing pants?!?!?! HAHAHA!!!! That is the stupidest thing I've heard!!! Why would someone change their pants while driving??? that is dangerous! :/

    I was just kidding, but I wouldn't be surprised! People do crazy stuff while driving. I've changed my clothes in a car a few times before, but I always park the car to do so. I had a friend who was using a phone and stopped paying attention...drifted across the center line and hit a semi truck head on. Anyway, I was just kidding about the pants, but I have seen people reading, eating, and talking on phones before. And then you'll have the people with huge dogs that are trying to lick the driver's face, and that sort of thing. You have to be careful on the road, especially if you're on a bike!


    I once called highway patrol on a guy who was driving erratically on the we went by, we saw that he had a book (appeared to be a Bible) spread out on his steering wheel. How is it rational to read while driving on the Interstate?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    fundamentalists are never rational. that they are americans doesn't change the level of neurosis.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Right...because it's only a fundamentalist that would be reading a book-that-might-have-been-a-Bible...not to mention the implication of your comment-namely, that fundamentalists are never rational. This would include fundamentalist antiTheists as well as fundamentalist Theists. The fundamentalist Christians that I know are, for the most part, pretty rationally-thinking folks (which is not to say I agree with their theology and politics often, let alone always).

    I did see someone reading a book on the Interstate not too long ago.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Just last week we passed some lady on the freeway doing that same thing-at 70 miles an hour at that. Not sure what she was reading, though.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, nice, except the angle and the position of the holder. If you put your head _over_ the book, and you surely will bend over it, it will be destroyed by the perspiration really fast. Or you're not excercising, just imitate it. :-)

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    not sure about you guys, but at the gym they have book holders on the stationary bikes, and your head isn't OVER them, you're looking forward and down. anyone else have any moronic criticism? Who reads anything looking straight down? And that's what towels are for.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Well, maybe not exercising very hard, anyway. Actually, the angle may not be good for a hard-core rider, but for the kind of workouts we do, it's almost perfect. I have in mind a modification to add some more adjustability but that will have to wait for a couple more weeks.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Surely, this would be illegal in some provinces or states. Not the book holder, though. Reading while riding. If you want to alleviate boredom while riding, just do it in the city. You could get yourself killed in pretty short order if you are not watching the traffic. That can be an adventure in itself.

    2 replies

    You should at least read the instructible's intro before commenting, as it specifically mentions that this modification is for a stationary exercise bike.


    Anyone with a brain would understand this is for a stationary bike. Sorry not a nasty comment, but yours are.