Thursday, August 23, 2012

Escape with can of kero, old toothbrush and a rusty bicycle

Image: Typical garage sale offering. Even something that looks this bad should scrub up okay as it's a good brand and the steel is high quality.

MUCH has been said and written about the spiritual experience of motorcycle maintenance. But let's drop a gear, get some dirt under our fingernails and swap petrol for sweat: we're talkin' pedal power.
The 1970s novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, came to mind this week as a bicycle purchased from a Redland City garage sale received some long overdue TLC.
Bicycle maintenance is a meditative experience, which is easy to get. Countless rusty bikes are on offer at garage sales around the country every weekend. Redland has its share; visit the addresses in this edition.

BIKES can quickly look sick after exposure to the elements. A few drenchings can cause spots of rust and without storage in a protected area the machine could present for the next council 'throw-out' campaign.
Neglectful owners are often so gripped by guilt over disrespecting their trusty old 'steeds' they end up virtually giving them away.
Many high quality bicycles, of tough materials, are offloaded just because they look a bit 'ratty'.
Experience suggests a few minutes on the pump usually makes those sadly flat tyres smile again, but a puncture repair is not the end of the world, nor is replacement of a few parts along the way.

HOSE off the dust, use a toothbrush with strong detergent in the recesses and when the bike is dry a few drops of oil should free everything up but keep it away from the brake pads and the chain.
The chain needs special attention because the links may be seized. You must remove all the sludge to get it working efficiently.
Taking off a chain to clean it in a solvent such as kero is a hassle because of the gears and tension. To avoid this, cut the bottom from a plastic bottle to make a dish/cup to keep under the chain while you scrub it with the toothbrush.
The cup holds the fluid and catches the dirty run-off. Cut grooves in the top to direct the run-off into the receptacle.

ENSURE everything is working and safe, especially the brakes. If you have any doubts, consult a qualified person.
Otherwise, climb aboard and feel the satisfaction of finding a bargain, doing something for yourself and reviving a lost magnificence.
As with its noisier cousins, the bicycle rewards with magically meditative experiences: you can escape the pressures of life while absorbed in a world of odd-sized nuts and intriguing proprietary quirks, and feel the exhilaration of exercise that can be as either gentle or vigorous as you wish.
If that's 'zen', let's have more of it. Next: Hooked on fishing reels (only joking).

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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