Do you need an exercise bike? Want to transform your regular bicycle into a stationary bike? In this article, I go through the easiest method to DIY your bike into a stationary bike that I was able to find. You very likely already have some or all of the pieces necessary for this project, or they can be acquired quite inexpensively!
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DIY Stationary Bicycle
The goal of this project is the create a stand that will hold the back end of your bike off the ground safely and securely, so that you can pedal and get a good workout.
By the way, if you decide the DIY route isn’t for you, then I recommend this spin bike from Schwinn. Download the Peloton app and you basically have a (actually higher-quality) Peloton-bike for less than half the price!
The other option is an under-desk pedal exerciser which can be great if you work from home or in an office setting to get exercise as long as you are sitting there anyway, with a virtually silent stationary cycler.
Okay, let’s move on…
A lot of the tutorials I have seen online involve constructing a base for your bike out of wood. I think that method probably works great, with the one downside of it being time consuming and in the end your stand may creak and squeak depending on how rigid and sturdy you are able to get the wooden frame!
For the practical mechanic, there is a good chance you already have the supplies necessary to create a strong base for your stationary bike, in the form of the jack-stands that are used for vehicle maintenance. Add to that a pair of sturdy bike pegs, and you are all set to create your DIY stationary bike!
Tools and Supplies
These are the tools and supplies you will need:
How to Build a Stationary Bike
This is the stationary bike frame we are going to build:
The first step is to find or order a pair of high-quality jack stands. These are used while working on your vehicle to make sure it doesn’t fall on you. They can hold tons of weight (literally), so they are very sturdy.
Next, get a pair of bike pegs. I ordered this set of 4 quite inexpensively, so that I can use the same setup for 2 different bikes, but any pair should do.
Using a wrench, remove the nuts holding the rear tire on, and replace them with the pegs. Tighten the pegs securely.
Next, lay down a pad or carpet square and set the jack-stands on it, allowing enough space between for the rear tire. The pad offers stability to the jack-stands so that they do not slide apart during especially vigorous workout sessions!
Set the pegs on the jack stands and adjust the height of the jack-stands until the tire is about 1 inch off the ground.
Alright, you are ready to ride! Hope on and start pedaling!
If you would like to secure things a bit more, you can lash the bike pegs to the jack stands, although I found the wheel/jack-stand arrangement to be quite stable as-is.
Another option is to secure the front tire with a wheel stand holder so that you can ride hands-free.
Adding Resistance to a Stationary Bike
One downside to this stationary bike is that you do not have a lot of resistance, which is great if you are cycling for physical therapy or working on your mechanics. However, if you want to get a workout where you are dripping sweat, you may have to pedal for quite a while!
While adjusting the gearing of your bike offers a little bit more resistance, since the tire is free-wheeling, the speed of the tire increases, but the difficulty of pedaling does not change much.
There are a couple of solutions to this. The first and most basic is to apply the rear break. This is how some exercise bikes work, the brake is constantly applied, increasing the effort required to pedal. You can either hold the brake by hand (which gets tiring) or tie the brake handle in place with a cord, zip-tie, or rubber bands.
The other option is to add a dynamo. This is a small generator that you power through your pedaling action. The dynamo provides a small-medium amount of resistance on the tire, which is converted to electricity and stored in a battery. For example, this dynamo attaches to your bikes frame, is powered by the wheel, and generates USB power to charge your cell phone!