Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rusty Rims, Meet Coca-Cola

Fixin' brakes and stuff.
This last weekend was a crafty one. VERY crafty. Much craftier than usual, in fact. There was sugar-scrub making, late-night skirt sewing, broccoli roasting followed by banana-bread baking, there was turban crocheting, man-sweater knitting. And finally, there was bike maintenencing. A new realm for me! Tools and stuff!

I should probably explain.

So I'm working on a big DIY book right now. And I mean BIG. It covers pretty much every possible thing that you can do yourself. Wanna give yourself a beehive? Now you can. Care to create a terrarium? Why I'd love to. Want to make like 1000 crafts? Sure! One of the things that this book covers is how to do basic repairs on your bike. We had the photo shoot last week (see above!), and in order to get our how-to-fix-the-damn-bike shots, we pulled in a real life NYC bike messenger girl, and she was kind enough to demonstrate how to swap out brake pads, fix your flat, or lube your chain (to name a few).
Rusty rims.
Over lunch, I asked the kind bike messenger lady what she does if her rims get rusty. She said to me, definitively, "I've never had rusty rims." And boy did I feel like an a-hole. Cuz this here photo above is what my rims looked like after it had been chained up in front of my house all winter. (Please disregard toilet in background of photo.)

I'd read somewhere that rust can be removed with Coca-Cola. It's one of those thing you hear and you don't even know if it's true, like how Twinkies are supposed to be eternal or something. But who has the time (literally, in the case of a Twinkie) to find these things out? Well, apparently I do. I had a frank talk with myself this last weekend about how my bike was going to no longer be functional if I let the rusty rim situation get any worse. So I bought a liter of Coke (and a bottle of CLR in case the Coke theory failed) and set about my task. In the kitchen of course. Because that's where it's totally appropriate to do super messy gross sticky dirty work.

This is how it went down: I first tried the Coca-Cola, scrubbing at my rims with an old toothbrush. It did, quite literally, nothing. I gave up and tried the same thing with the CLR. Again. Nothing! I then went online and learned the magic trick. Are you ready? Here it is: crumple up a piece of tin foil, dip it in the Coke, then scrub away at the rust. 

OMG. It was magic! Completely addictive. It was like being in a Sham-Wow Infomercial!

I'm sure like half of the people reading this already know this trick and are judging me for being so not-in-the-know (or are judging me for being so inappropriately excited about this...or are judging me for letting my rims get so rusty in the first place. OK, everyone is judging me at this point. Let's just move on.) Around the time I finished the worst spots on the back wheel, I also realized that winter is not yet over. Meaning, I have to put my bike back outside. So, I stopped where I was and decided I'm gonna really have at it with the Coke-and-foil on the first warm day of spring, when I can slop around outside and then actually take my shiny new wheels for a spin. Wheeeeeeee....! At any rate, if you've got a rusty mess on your hands like I did last weekend, you now know what to do.



  1. I'm so sad for your bike! And for that liter of Coke, to be honest. Look at it, all pooled on the floor.

    Also, I have to commend you for an excellent use of "literally." You totally made me laugh out loud. Literally!

  2. Erin, it was very hard to pour that sweet, sweet coke into a tupperware and then watch it get all muddy with rust juice. Disgusting! It has not, however, diminished my love of coca cola. Especially with a guacamole flour taco. Yummmmmmm...