You should not use these terrible cycling hacks

by Iain Treloar


Facebook is a shitshow. That is a statement that is presented not as opinion, but as fact, because it is incontrovertibly the case.

But when the social media giant isn’t meddling in political process or conducting unethical research, it’s also a place where people upload videos that are shared and reshared around the world, the tendrils of their influence spreading like ivy into the walls of a house.

There is one such video that was recently brought to our attention. It is called “Upgrade your cycling experience with these easy hacks”, a title that is followed with a subheading that reads “Upgrade your cycling experience with these easy hacks:”

There is nothing after that colon.

Regardless, perhaps it is instructive to learn what wisdom the good folks behind this video, 5-Minute Crafts, have to impart.

5-Minute Crafts’ publisher, TheSoul Publishing, is based in Cyprus and is a many-headed social media hydra, also running the 7-Second Riddles Facebook page hosting this clip. The video itself is sourced from a Youtube channel that has 70 million subscribers and over 19 billion views, making it the seventh largest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen these cycling hacks. Some of them may even have used them.

Hack #13: Spray chain (and rim, and tyre) indiscriminately with WD40.

Which is where we – you, me, etcetera – come in. Because, if nothing else, we are cyclists. We experience things. And most particularly, we would like to upgrade our experience as cyclists with easy hacks.

Can 5-Minute Crafts help us get there?

Things don’t get off to a promising start.

To the accompaniment of a buoyant soundtrack, for hack #1 the protagonist of this Cypriot bicycle manifesto removes one of her shoes, extends the kickstand of her bicycle, and rests the stand inside it. She then walks out of frame, with one shoe on and one shoe off. Where does she go? Why has she done this? We do not know. We will never know, because we are whisked off to the next life-altering suggestion.

Hack #1: Get a dirty sock.

The second cycling hack shows a little more promise, with the revelation that if you lack pockets – as the star of this video does – you can peel the grip off your handlebars, roll up your banknotes, and slide them inside the bar. A classic move, straight from the Gino Bartali school of thought.

The improvised drink bottle cage that is hack #3 is a little more iffy. For this, you should* (*absolutely not) buy a tin of Paprika-flavoured Pringles, cover it in red contact, use a hot glue gun to attach a couple of cable ties, and then tighten it down hard and fast, across the gear cables.

Hack #3: Refashion a potato snack into a gear-hampering drink vessel of limited accessibility.

We oscillate back to less kooky ground with #4, which is to put a shower-cap over your saddle if you’re parking your bike out in the rain. Would I personally do it? No. But I have seen it done in the wild, and it is a simple solution that isn’t as conspicuously batshit as hack #5 (cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and install over your tyres to avoid tracking mud through the house).

Hack #5: When leaving your bike outside is too simple.

And on we go in our awkward one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of dance through the delirium of this video. Just when you think something logical is being proposed – for instance, leaning a bicycle against a curb using its pedal as a de-facto kickstand – reason is snatched away from you with a home-made mirror made using a big bit of gold wire and a hot glue gun.

5-Minutes Crafts giveth, and it taketh away.

Hack #9: Fashion yourself a cyberpunk looking-glass.

In total, there are 13 “easy hacks” proposed in the breezy span of three and a half minutes. Admittedly, many of them are easy (but so is picking your nose, and that doesn’t mean you should do it in public). Some of them might even qualify as ‘hacks’.

On the flipside, a few of them are actually dangerous, and fewer than 20% of them could possibly be said to upgrade your cycling experience – if you’re being generous.

Social media, you’ve done it again.

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