Friday, September 23, 2011

Cork Bar End Plugs

For a time I was baffled why the bar end plugs on the mustache handlebars kept falling out. I lost at least one a month and often two in the same week. The black rubber type would remain longer, but my supply dwindled (I collect these babies from the side of the road). All that remained were the cheap silver type that comes with bar tape. Those are too loose for these bars, even with electrical tape folded into the cavity.

A bit of Yankee ingenuity - cork as bar end plug. Notice the corkscrew hole.
I believe it is inherent with mustache bars to catch themselves on objects. Mine rests against another bike in our garage and if it's jostled I discover the curved bar hugging the stem of my Trek. I lost the last plug on the 3 hour trip back from Montreal. As we unpacked the bike rack, once again I found the handlebar wrapped around another bicycle, my husband's Bridgestone. Maybe the Miyata is just lonely?

I am wondering also if these steel bars, as opposed to the aluminum or alloy bars, tend to flex or vibrate more. I don't feel this happening while I'm riding, and if anything, I find these bars quite comfortable. So I may be plucking ideas from the clouds.

I've pondered the perfect solution to the bar end plug dilemma for a while (lots of thinking time on my commute). I cut a cork in half and shaved a bit from what would become the inserted end. Amazingly it was the correct diameter. I used one of the newer, fake corks so often found in wine bottles in recent years. In the future I'd like to try real cork with cork bar wrap. Problem solved. 

Think of how much fun it will be when it needs replacement. I will push the corkscrew in, turn, and pop - ahh - my favorite vintage!

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