​Bike maintenance: Life hacks and fun tips anyone with a bike should know

Give your old bike a new lease of life with these fun tips.

Welcome to the third and final part of our bike maintenance series. By now you have learnt some great tips on how to make your bike go faster (such as adjusting tyre pressure and opting for clipless pedals), and how to keep your bike going for longer (such as renewing your cables and greasing/de-greasing your chain).

Well, in this edition we thought we’d keep things a bit more light hearted. That’s not to say there aren’t some great tips here for more serious cyclists, but cycling should be fun first and foremost; and that means having a good time whilst you’re both riding and performing maintenance.

So, here a few life hacks and fun tips that anyone with a bike can benefit from:

No water bottle holes? No problem

We’ll start with one for people who ride for fitness.

After a long cycle stretch or a particularly tough uphill ride, we’re all glad to reach down and grab our water bottle from the frame of our bikes.

But what do you do if you don’t have the necessary holes in your bike frame to attach a water bottle holder?

Get yourself a rear bottle cage holder or a seat bottle mount instead. You needn’t break the bank to get a good one, and attaching one is simple compared with drilling holes yourself.

A new lease of life with a new lick of paint

Many of you might have a bike sat out in the garage or the shed, rusting away with the excitement you had when you purchased it. While appearances aren’t everything, it’s undoubtedly more fun for the relaxed cyclist to ride a bike that looks great and gets them excited once more.

Often, all that’s needed to give your old bike a new lease of life is a fresh lick of paint. Check out this great guide showing you how you can perform a DIY bike makeover. While it involves taking your bike apart and putting it back together, you’ll be left with something you’re truly proud of. After you’ve reassembled it, you’ll want to run through some of these tips.

When you’ve got your bike looking the way you want it, it’s a shame to still keep it out in the garage or the shed (or, most sad of all, locked outside). Many of us live in flats anyway, where outdoor space isn’t always available – so what can we do? Bring our bikes in and set up a DIY bike rack.

Images courtesy of kylethewilson.wordpress.com

A lot of people see their bikes as works of art, and have therefore created DIY bike shelves that you install in your own home. Check out the frankly genius effort above from Kyle Wilson, which sees an old pair of handlebars put to good use.

Baskets and racks for life

Going to do the shopping on your cycle? If you’re worried about the overuse of plastic bags (and you can’t find the 13th bag for life you’ve bought in the past year), you might want to consider attaching a basket or a rack to your frame. Check out biketourings.com or bikehacks.com for some great walkthroughs.

For camping trips or long journeys, you’ll want to install a mounted rear cargo rack – maybe even a front rack too for additional luggage. Learn how to attach both at ebicycles.com.

Night life for DIY bike lights

Like a new paint job, sometimes you just want to put your own stamp on a bike and make it unique. That needn’t mean making permanent changes however; if you cycle a lot in the evenings, you might want to customise your bike with some DIY lighting.

The example above uses electroluminescent wire coated in a reactive paint, but there are many simple techniques. You’ll find a bunch of ideas for your own bike lighting over at instructables.com.

Get rid of scratches (and prevent them in the first place)

Your bike is your pride and joy, so if anything were to happen to it, you’re bound to be upset. Don’t panic! A scratch doesn’t have to be for life – not when you know how to fix them. First you’ll want to wetsand the area smooth with a piece of fine grit paper until there’s no difference between the affected and unaffected areas; then simply find a matching a paint and touch up your frame.

Of course, it’s best to protect your bike from getting scratched in the first place. For this, a simple and cheap way to coat your carbon frame is to use a high-quality, chip-free nail polish clear coat, but there are sprays out there too, like Muc-Off. Then again, you could also put some protective skins (check out lizardskins.com) or tape over your frame for greater protection.

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Now get out and enjoy your bike! If you missed part one and part two of this series, you should check out how to make your bike go faster and how to keep your bike going for longer.

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