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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. 

Free from the constructs of artifice, the simple ideas can become the most adaptable. Not to mention quickly repeatable and reusable over the long-term. 

Let's talk about stowing, lashing, and binding stuff. In other words, getting your gear from Point A to Point B in some form of intact state. No problem! Options abound. To name just a few: flexible rubber twisties; tapes; zip ties; ratcheting straps; plastic film; twine; rope; bungee cords; and kits with fancy metal hooks that have instructions etched into them. 

Lashing stuff together for stowage or transport is a pretty big deal. Furthermore, being able to accomplish this on a bike opens up a whole new world of options whether you're commuting across town or touring around the world.

With that in mind, do you ever think about the throwaway nature of a lot of binding methods? So many are used once or twice, then designed to be tossed out. Use a new one next time. Simple, right? That's bunk. 

In the grand scheme that's far from simple. For one, we throw away too much crap. Secondly, it's not practical to haul around a supply of disposable solutions to any hauling problem. You need a solution that is secure and can be used over and over again for a long time. 

The Junk Strap has long been one of the unsung heroes of our product line. After all, it's essentially a long toe strap with a couple of nifty upgrades.  

Even if you've never used a toe strap on pedals you can appreciate a Junk Strap. It’s comprised of two things: a 12mm wide nylon strap attached to a secure, stainless steel buckle. Its 120cm length is adequate for everything from lashing firewood to slinging a shoulder. It will even hold up your knickers when you've lost a stone’s weight on that extended two-wheeled wander.

A Surly Junk strap - black - wrapped around a coil of a plumbing snake

I know what you’re thinking: "You all took some long nylon webbing and mated it to a spring-loaded buckle. It holds stuff. So what?" Options, my friend. Endless options. You don't need towing grade equipment for bike-based loads. You need something that is strong, lightweight and compact. Bonus points that it has infinite applications.

Say you've dismissed the merits of the Junk Strap altogether. None of this is getting through to you. Can you at least take a quick trip with me to a mythical land where all have integrated the Junk Strap? A Junk Strap Utopia, if you will. Where everything is neatly bound and all the children are above average. What could top such a fantastic place?

“Whoa. All of a sudden you’re feeding me raspberry champagne out of Prince's glass boot!” I thought you’d change your tune. But wait. It gets better. 

The simplest variations on the simplest ideas often produce astonishing results. Proof of this is our new Loop Strap. Cut that wondrous Junk Strap into two pieces. Sew loops that allow you to hitch the free end and buckle end onto opposite sides of the rack where your load is to be secured. Boom! All of a sudden repetitive loading tasks become easier. 

Think about it. If you have a platform-style rack attached to your bike, such as one of our 8 or 24 Pack Racks, most of the time you're loading onto that rack similarly shaped items. Why fish a loose strap under/around/through every time you want to attach that cargo? Besides, loose straps can migrate across rack bars in transit. The Loop Strap stays put.

A Surly Junk strap - black - wrapped around a front rack on a Surly bike

The Loop Strap can remain attached to your rack, always at the ready. In addition, it is a staunch ally when you're dealing with awkward loads balanced on the rack deck that are prepared to topple at any moment.

A Surly Junk strap - black - wrapped around a package of tire on a front rack of a bike

These things don't just live in the realm of platform racks, however. Think Big Dummy cargo applications. What about lashing packages to Bill or Ted trailers? (Pro tip: A Loop Strap can be extended by adding in a standard Junk Strap. No load is too large as long as the rack is rated to handle the weight. Mind blown.)

Hell, Junk Straps and Loop Straps don't have to live on a bike at all. In Junk Strap Utopia they're found everywhere! There are always a couple on hand when life presents a new challenge to securing your duff. Defective tailgate latch? Check. Campsite laundry line? Yep. Box fan retention device? Sure.

A Surly Junk strap - black - wrapped around the handle of a box fan and a wood rail

All this hullabaloo over a toe strap on steroids? Damn straight. I'm never without at least two of these straps in my kit at all times. Duct tape and a bouquet of zip ties are in there, too, but those are conserved for when they're truly needed.

“Hey, Fleck!” you ask, “What about paracord?” Excellent reminder. I want to grant a respectful nod to paracord and the entire family of stout nylon cordage. This is truly the simplest and most adaptable of methods to lash and bind loads. However, it doesn't have the desirable characteristics of a flat webbing that won't cut into your parcel, nor the ease of anchoring with a secure buckle. Still, paracord is light and occupies so little space that I typically have 50 feet of it in my kit as well. Although not everyone knows how to, or wants to tie knots. That’s okay. Junk Strap has you covered!

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed your short trip to Junk Strap Utopia. Maybe you learned a thing or two. If you haven't already begun expanding your options for taking stuff with you aboard your bike, you might give it some thought. The humble Junk Strap and its sibling, Loop, can flatten that learning curve. Plus, once you start using these devices you'll swear by them for all sorts of tasks both on and off the bike.

If you haul the right stuff you might just find yourself making a lot of new friends. (More on that spiffy wooden deck in a future blog.) Cheers!

A Surly Junk strap - black - holding down a 12 pack of beer on top of a bike rack

About Fleck

John Fleck a.k.a. Fleck

Meet John, Surly’s Global Sales Manager & Domestique. Long ago, John worked for Surly in a customer service and sales capacity, long before Surly had any sort of proactive sales plans or programs. Most recently however, he honed that experience by building relationships and selling bicycles and bicycle accessories to people outside the U.S. of A. He returns now with a wealth of knowledge about Surly, about the needs and habits of bike shops and about the clockwork orange that is global and domestic sales markets. John’s hobbies include woodworking, riding bicycles, positively focused skepticism, being a dad, Buddhism, making good food and eating good food.