How To Bling Your Bike For Less Than $5.00

Being a B.O.B (Brother on a Budget), I’m always looking for ways to make my dollar stretch and of course, get the most of it. So one of the things I wanted to do was personalize my bike without going broke. As it is, its pretty much an RL bike…meaning its plain and simple. I did get a white chain and white bars to make it sweeter.

So here’s what I did…took my cranks off the bike. I had started this blinging process a few days ago and you can get a hint from the left arm what the cranks will look like.

I then took some $5.00 paint stripper that I bought from Wal-Mart and treated the cranks.

Once the cranks have been treated, you’ll see that almost all the paint comes right off.

I then sanded the cranks down with 2000 grit wet/dry sand paper.

Put in some elbow grease and this magical stuff called Mother’s….


Here’s the final product. I actually need to go over it with the wet dry paper and polish it up again. But since I was up until midnight doing this, I’ll save it for another day.

The cost of this project was $5.00, that was for the cost of the stripper. I already had the other stuff such as the Mother’s and paper. But if you were to go out and get all that, I figure you’d spend no more than $15.00 in making your cranks look sweet.

DIY Tire Chains Revisited

When Randy lived in New Cumberland, PA, it would snow there. So he was smart enough to make his own tire chains so he could go riding in the freezing cold.
how to make tire chains, bicycle

You can find out how to make that by clicking HERE.

He even tested his invention and it works! You can read that HERE.
tire chains fro bicycles

Thursday Tech Tip: Lubing your shifter cables

A few weeks ago, I tried out Lance’s super sweet Santa Cruz only to find out that the shifting was pretty bad. I had suggested that he try to lube his cables to see if that will help. So after finishing our after-ride breakfast, I showed him how to baby his cables. But the photos shown below are from my garage this morning.

First step is to shift to your biggest gear in the back.

Next is to make sure that you don’t spin the pedals, then down shift your shifter to the smallest gear.

Once you’ve down shifted, you’ll notice there is slack in the cable. Remove the housing from the cable guide. Then slide the housing to expose your cable.

Apply some lube on the cable. I’m using White Lighting just because I like it. Shimano makes a great cable lube called “Special Grease.” That stuff works like magic on cables. However, it’s pretty hard to find, you can try to see if your LBS can order it for you, but be ready to pay the price…a small tub that looks like a stack of 2 Oreo cookies is about $15.

Don’t forget to do the same thing through out the rest of the cable that the housing was covering, just slide and lube.

After you’ve lubed up your cables, go try it out. It should feel WAY better than before.

Thursday Tech Tip: Having a tough time shifting?

If you’re having to put way too much effort in going from gear to gear, then consider replacing your cable and housing.

First step is to get a derailleur cable and housing. Most bike shops sell a cable for about $3-$10 (depending on brand and type). Housing is around $2.00 per foot. Best thing to do before going to the shop is measure how much housing you need. Obviously the rear derailleur will need more, I usually guestimate about 3-3.5 feet of housing for my bikes.

Don’t forget to buy some cable ferrules. Usually derailleur cables are 4mm thick, so that means get a 4mm ferrule.

You’ll also need some caps to prevent your freshly cut cables from fraying. Those will run you about $.10 a piece.

All you’ll really need for tools is a good set of cable cutters like this one from

Other than that, just follow the routing of your old cable/housing, cut the housing to the same lengths as the old ones, place your ferrules at the end of each portion, add a bit of wax lubricant to the cable before inserting it, and you’re all set.

Thursday Tech Tip: How to tighten a threadless headset

First step is to loosen the pinch bolts on the side. Turn it counter clock wise. An easy rule to remember is, “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty.”

Then tighten the bolt on the top cap clock wise. But make sure you don’t ever tighten it or else it will compress the bearings making it hard to turn your handle bar.

Once you’ve got it at the right tension, simply tighten the pinch bolts and go out for a ride.