The first time I went out since the lockdown, I had to wait nearly an hour for a ride. There were no tricycles around. Local jeepneys and mini cabs run on 50 percent capacity so they’re really hard to catch. Walking wasn’t an option either because the town proper wasn’t in a walkable distance from my home (I like my legs intact, thank you very much).
And I honestly would’ve just cycled my way there if only my five-year old bike was in good condition. But no, its frame was a bit rusty, the tires were flat (I even saw small cracks on them), the brakes were too loose and the list goes on.
So I went bike-hunting. Just my luck, all nearby shops ran out of stock and they already have long lists of pre-orders—so long that I was told to wait more or less a few months for my turn. And I didn’t want to wait so I thought of restoring my old bike instead. Although its parts were poorly maintained, there’s still some life to it. An overhaul was possible.
Repair shops were far from my home as well (I’m in the province, let me live) so I had no choice but to fix my bike on my own. It requires a lot of work but it’s doable. Besides, I received help from my quarantine best friend: YouTube.
Strong acid substances like vinegar and soft drinks help remove rust. Wet a piece of aluminum foil with vinegar or soft drinks (whatever’s available in the cupboard) and rub it on affected areas until rust dissolves.
Worn out tires
Use an all-purpose cleaner and a rag to clean the tires. Brush away excess dirt if necessary. If an all-purpose cleaner isn’t available, a possible alternative is regular laundry soap.
Make sure to check though if the tires are still working properly. Inflate and monitor for possible holes. Holes, cracks and other deformities are obvious signs to replace them.
For mechanical bikes, unscrew the stopper located beside the bike handles to create tension. This will tighten the cables connected to the brake levers in the process. Next, use an Allen wrench to adjust the cable connected to the disc brake near the front tire. The disc brake should remain in the center of the caliper so be careful with the cable adjustments.
If the bike still looks hideous after all the rust removal, tire cleaning and brake adjustments, it’s probably time for a physical makeover. Use spray paint to give the bike a new look. Customize it as much as you want by drawing figures on the frame.
But before painting, cover up screws and discs with masking tape to prevent them from rusting.
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Writer: KLEO CATIENZA