Bike Friday HaD: Portable Tools and DIY Roller Wheels

Finally, to make the Bike Friday Haul-A-Day cargo bike ready for active service, I need to add some tools to make it self sufficient, in case something happens while out riding. Then, to make it easier to wheel the bike around when in the vertical position, I added some roller wheels to solve this problem.

There are many ways to carry tools on the bike, especially on this cargo bike where there is plenty of space. However, as far as possible, I want to avoid using the side bags, and instead fix the tools onto the frame of the bike itself, so that it does not fall out or need to be removed.

As saw earlier when studying the frameset in detail, there is some space at the rear of the frame where a bottle cage can be mounted. This is where a tool bottle can be stored, to hold tools and spares inside, using a bottle cage.

I had this Specialized SWAT EMT tool, for almost a year already. However, I did not get to use it as all my other bikes already have some sort of spares and tools system in place already, and this is an extra set of tools. Now, I have the chance to use this! Let's see how this bottle cage and tool combination works.

Specialized SWAT EMT Tool. Basically the tools can be mounted below the bottle cage.

The portable tool kit, with all the essential tool bits and a holding bracket.

Fixing the tools onto the holding Bracket. It was a little tricky mounting everything onto the frame, together with the bottle cage.

The bottle cage, together with the tools, is mounted at the bottom side of the frame. This creates space for mounting other accessories on top.

Other than having spare tools for making adjustments, there are a few things needed to repair a puncture. Tire levers, spare inner tube, and an air pump. These three parts are essential, because if one part is missing, the other two are useless.

The tire lever and the spare inner tube can be stored in the tool bottle, but I need to find some space to install a portable pump. I am not able to install the pump mount directly to the mounting holes, as there is interference with the frame. 

Looking through my spare parts, I found the Shimano Bottle Cage Adapter, SM-BA01. This will allow the bottle cage holes to be offset, so that I can mount the portable pump on the frame.

Using the bottle cage adapter to offset the bottle cage holes, so that I can mount the Lezyne Pressure Drive onto the frame. This pump was previously mounted on the Brompton M6R.

With all the tools mounted together on the frame! This is additional weight, but since they are fixed to the bike, I will not need to remember to bring them every time.

With the portable tools mounted successfully, I can now focus on the last outstanding issue at hand, which is also the most tricky.

Whenever I need to bring the bike out of the house to ride, I need to wheel the bike vertically into the elevator. The problem is, when the bike is vertical, it is very difficult to move the bike, as it is heavy and there are no roller wheels.

There is no ready made solution, and so I have to create my own DIY system to allow the bike to be rolled around easily when vertical. After testing a few different ideas and configurations, this is the final setup that works well.

The parts needed to make one side of the roller wheels. 2 sets are needed since 2 roller wheels are necessary to balance the bike.

These parts are specifically chosen to work with each other, with the most difficult one being finding suitable roller wheels.

The roller wheels need to be the non-swiveling type, with mounting holes. They also cannot be too big or too small. Then, the holes on the mounting plates should match the holes on the bracket of the roller wheels. Finally, the black bracket is used to stabilize the roller wheels so that they don't move around when under load.

Final setup shown here. Looks quite elaborate, but it is necessary to ensure that the roller wheels are well supported from all load directions.

The roller wheels are clamped onto the frame, using 2 sets of plates, plus standard bolts and nuts.

One of the set of plates has an L-bend, which is then clamped with the black bracket. This prevents the plate and thus the roller wheels from collapsing when under sideways load.

Finally, the black bracket is secured onto the bottom of the frame, with 2 adapters to allow the diameter 31.8 mm bracket to be secured onto the frame (about diameter 25 mm).

Another view of the plates holding the roller wheels onto the frame.

Another view of the roller wheels.

Roller wheels plus the ends of the wraparound bars supporting the full weight of the bike when placed vertically. This is also the condition during vertical storage.

These roller wheels are not of really good quality, as they are simply plastic wheels with no bearings or rubber coating. The metal sidewalls holding the roller wheels are quite thin as well.

I would say that the weak point in this setup are the roller wheels, as the wheels are not of good quality. However, I could not find any other better roller wheels with suitable dimensions for mounting.

Initially I found that the roller wheels cannot roll smoothly when under load, which happens when the bike is being moved around in the vertical orientation. However, after I added some oil to the roller wheel axles, they became a lot smoother.

With the roller wheels, I can now wheel the bike vertically without any trouble. It is a lot easier compared to without roller wheels. The bike is now completed, with no planned additions or modifications in the near future.

Roller wheels seen at the back of the bike


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