What Did We Do Before Cable Ties?

Yes, in the good old days, if the police wanted to restrain a ne’er-do-well anarchist agitator, dressed in their traditional uniform of a bright yellow jacket, then the policeman would have to use his one set of metal handcuffs. But since the invention of cable ties, a single policeman can carry enough restraints to secure literally dozens of trouble makers.

So you lot on Blackfriars Bridge: Any more of this so-called “safety protest”, and we’ll nick the lot of you. With plastic hand-cuffs, you’ll soon find your safety in numbers to be the sham that it is.

But actually, if there’s one bit of kit to keep somewhere at the bottom of your bag when you’re on a bike, it is a cable tie. Or a selection of them, in fact. These little doohickies seem to have a never-ending list of uses on a bike:

  • Fixing on your cycle computer or phone …. & keeping all its cables nice and neat if it has them
  • To use instead of a bolt when you fit a rear mudguard – a cable tie to make that connection just behind the bottom bracket is so much less fiddly than a nut & bolt
  • I once lost one of my rack’s bolts on a long ride. I cable tied it & forgot about it for almost six months. No apparent problems, even though the rack was carrying up to 20kg of stuff.
  • To convert regular tyres into ice / snow tyres
  • For temporary mounting of lights when you don’t have a bracket.
  • For mounting a bell when you have very chunky handlebars
  • To make your quickrelease skewers just a bit more of a faff for a would-be bike thief. They’ll get through them easy enough with a knife / pair of scissors / screwdriver that’s twisted around and around, but that takes time or extra tools. Meanwhile, the bike next to yours needs none of this extra effort.
  • To mount a camera on your bike
  • As temporary-ish fixings for bottle cages or pump brackets.
  • As a way to attach your lock – re-usable cable ties are great for this. Just press the release button and they come undone.
  • To repair broken mudguard mounts
I’m sure that there are many more uses for these – what have you repaired or bodged with them on your bike?
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Posted in Bike Culture
0 comments on “What Did We Do Before Cable Ties?
  1. Kim says:

    Humm, interesting, cable ties around the tyre must be fun with rim brakes and surely if you mount a camera on your seat post you would want mud guards… 😉

  2. KarlOnSea says:

    “Fun” as in totally useless and likely to foul the brakes? And as for the camera mount, well there’d be no problem with that as most people with “mountain bikes” never take them onto actual mountains, or out in the rain. Or in fact, out.

  3. Rich says:

    Yes, I’ve seen the winter adaptation before, disc brakes do away with the braking problem but they’ll be a swine when the p* fairy comes a visitin’ getting them off & carrying enough spares to re winterise it

  4. KarlOnSea says:

    Yeah – I think that it’s a get-you-home-when-it-unexpectedly-starts-snowing-in-October mod, rather than any kind of long term solution.

  5. tom says:

    Tend to use them to strap light to helmet for winter. Have used them for various roadside repairs and to garrot a bike thief by the side of the road (lie).

  6. My retro-grouch is revolting at the very thought of securing anything to a Carradice with a plastic cable tie. Nylon toe-straps would be (just) acceptable, if one is unable to source hand tooled leather straps.

  7. KarlOnSea says:

    Ah, my small, nimble-fingured furry friend, you mean like these ones?

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