Restoring my bike: Part 1

You may have noticed a change around here. I wanted to simplify the blog a bit, so I changed the background, the header, and the links. There are also a few subtle differences. The main thing is that my shop is now open. I currently have two baby blankets for sale. You can check out via PayPal.

Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sky sunnier, I want to do outdoor activities. I haven’t been into bike riding since I was a kid but lately I’ve been trying to be healthier and more active, and I thought this was a good way to do both. Michael just purchased a nice, vintage Schwinn and I inherited his old bike. The bike that he left at his old apartment 4 years ago. The bike that we left out in the rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain/etc. for 2 years at my sister’s house. It looked like this:

Can you see all that rust? Can you see the horrible tires? And ALL THE RUST? I actually thought about selling it on Craigslist and just forking over some dough for a new bike. But then I was bitten by the DIY bug and decided to try to fix it up myself. Here’s some close ups of what I had to deal with:

There was rust on nearly every metal part of the bike. Despite falling apart on the sides, the tires actually hold air quite well and I’m able to ride it. Although, I’m always terrified the tire is going to pop and I’m going to faceplant in the pavement. So they need to be replaced. I made a list of all the things I’d like to do:

  • Remove rust
  • Spray paint metal parts in chrome
  • Spray paint frame a mint color
  • Replace tires
  • Replace seat (It works but is very uncomfortable)

The first thing I wanted to tackle was the rust. While the rest of the bike frame looked decent, the rust was an incredible eye appeal distraction. I Googled “how to remove rust from a bike” and found out you can remove rust with just lime juice and steel wool! I wasn’t very optimistic because of the amount of rust on the bike but since it was so simple, I decided to try it anyway.

First, I gathered my materials: lime juice, steel wool, a wet rag, a dry rag, and gloves. The gloves are optional, but I highly recommend using them unless you like to have rusty hands! I decided to tackle the handlebars first since they were the easiest to access. Remember what they looked like before?

A rusty mess! I added a bit of lime juice to the steel wool and started scrubbing on one side of the handlebars. Within seconds, I could see that the rust was no longer there!

I then wiped the handlebar off with a wet rag then wiped it off very well with a dry rag, and guess what?

I had shiny handlebars! I was so impressed with this method. I continued working on the other half of the handlebars, a few random spots, and the left side of the pedals. I realized somewhere in the middle of doing this that I should have taken apart the bike to get the best access, but I didn’t know how to do it and Michael was at work. I was too excited about the process working out that I just kept going!

One thing to remember, though, is that the steel wool WILL scrape off the paint of your bike frame (see side by side image above). If you want to keep your original frame’s paint, I recommend taping around the areas or taking apart your bike. I wasn’t worried about it since I plan on re-painting the bike anyway.

I still need to tackle the rest of the bike: a few odds and ends, the right side of the pedal, and the wheels. I am just waiting for some more sunny days!

I also have been on the lookout for the right shade of mint for the frame. I picked up Valspar’s Paint + Primer Color Radiance in La Fonda Mirage but it was way too light blue and not enough green. If anybody has any recommendations for mint spray paint, I would appreciate it!

Hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day! Tomorrow is this little guy’s 2nd birthday, and I’m gonna spoil him!

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