A bike experience that has not been appreciated or documented as much as it deserves is the bike rides on mountains or hills close to the cities during the night. It’s almost a supernatural thing. If you have watched the film ‘the void’ you probably remember the scene when the soul flies over the city to the dark sky. It’s one of those scenes that stuck in your mind forever. So beautiful and powerful and dark and sad and weird, it almost made me depressed that day. But anyway, these kind of feelings I get every time I am on a mountain that’s close to a city and I can see the city lights as I’m pedaling uphill. Like I just left my physical body in this noisy city and I’m floating towards the stars where everything is better.
I have been using these leather grips for a week now and I can honestly say that they are amazing. And they look awesome as well. It’s weird having strangers tell you that I shouldn’t invest on my beat up bicycle, by buying expensive parts! They wouldn’t believe that these grips are homemade with straight out of the bin materials! I ‘ve never had proper bicycle grips in my life. All I had was worn out bicycle grips or new very cheap ones. My DIY leather grips are my first proper very expensive looking grips. And I got them for free. Check bellow how I did it.
I’ve only used:
- A pair of worn out lock-on grips (if you don’t have, or you can’t find in your friends’ garage, you can buy them off ebay for around 3$)
- an (unusable) leather belt that you don’t want/like (non-slip, tough, amazing feel, beautiful looks, your hands doesn’t smell rubber after the ride, doesn’t leave black spots on your hands.)
– razor / knife
- A good pair of scissors
- a piece of thick fish line (incredibly resilient to the elements, most of the times you can find it for free, looks great, amazingly strong)
- A Dremel
- Needle-nose pliers
Firstly, strip off the worn out rubber using the razor. Remove most of the rubber without worrying too much about it. We need some leftovers so the leather parts don’t slide around.
Then, find out how many pieces of leather fit in your grip. If they can’t fit perfectly, make a thinner strip for each grip so they can cover the whole length. By wrapping the belt around the grip you can see where to cut it and then with your scissors trim it enough so the two ends almost touch each other (there should be a gap). When you have them ready, open some holes with the Dremel. Try to make the holes on each end of the leather strip isometric. The holes must be as tight as possible (maybe as small as the fishing line).
Now, cut diagonally the end of the fishing line so it goes through the holes more easily. Using the needle nose pliers grab the end and make it go through the top hole and then the hole bellow (from the other side). Now, make it go through the same holes again but this time take the end and make it go through the next top hole. Don’t make it tight yet.
Using your pliers squeeze the space between the threading so the two ends snug to each other perfectly.
When you finish the first piece of leather, make all the threading tight. For the next strip make the line go through the next hole and keep doing what you did with the first.
When you finish the threading, make it tight enough and then make two knots on each end. Hold the knot down as you pull the fishing line so it stays as close to the hole as possible. Using a lighter, make the end of the pliers very hot so you can melt and flatten the knot to prevent it from unbinding.
You can use a fork to make the threading very tight!
Have you seen those wonderful bicycle leather grips by walnut studiolo? I love them, but I can’t afford them. So, I made mine out of scrap material, and they look almost as impressive (the picture doesn’t do them justice). I used my girlfriend’s wrecked leather belt (any leather belt will work), a pair of worn out grips(a friend of mine throw them away because the rubber worn out and became gummy – you can use Chinese cheap ones from ebay for 3.5$ if haven’t one) and a piece of fishline I found on the beach (stray cats and dogs should be thankful I took this trap out of their way). They look awesome, they offer tons of grip, you can enjoy them for years, they cost zero money and most importantly, they will make you feel proud because YOU made them.
I will post the tutorial soon.