My friend Kiko has a problem. He has an addiction to bike polo. He also choses to ride a freewheel bike, which means that with a mallet in his hand he only has one brake. Luckily, Kiko is also a tinkerer and has his own workshop, so it was an easy job for him to come up with this ingeniously simple solution, which operates two brakes with one lever.
In bike polo, most of the time you are playing one-handed. If you ride a fixed-gear bike like many players then you can brake the rear wheel with your legs and pull the lever for the front brake with your left hand. If you ride freewheel, the usual solution is to keep the back brake so you can skid (important in polo for quick turns and looking cool). The problem is that the back brake isn’t good at actually stopping you quickly.
Kiko’s fix was to hook up two cables to a single lever, activated by the left hand. The design is incredibly simple, but does rely on some workshop skills to do it properly. After all, you really don’t want to mess up your only way of stopping, right? Here’s how to make it:
Find the hole in the brake lever where the brake cable is usually fixed into place. Drill through the opposite side with the same diameter hole and thread through an aluminum rod. This rod should be drilled with small holes for the cables to pass through, and these holes should have rounded seats for the cable-ends fashioned with a file.
The next step is to make a metal plate with three holes. The central hole is for mounting it on the lever assembly, and should be made to fit the already existing nubbin from which the cable used to protrude. The other two should be drilled, threaded and fitted with two barrel-adjusters, as seen in the photos.
Once made, you pass each cable through its own pair of holes. Pulling on the lever pulls both brakes. Best of all, you can tweak them using the barrel-adjusters to balance the brakes, adding a little more power to the back to help skidding, for example.
Does it work? Yes. Very well. If Kiko’s game last night was anything to go by, then it might be better than riding fixed. And it isn’t just for bike polo. Operating two brakes with one hand could be great for somebody with just one arm, or a stroke victim without the use of a hand.
A great DIY project, and one that is totally in the home-made spirit of bike polo.
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Fuente: Gadget Lab