There are Pros and Cons to having the jankiest bike to ever register for a triathlon.
Pro: It was free.
(It was my brother’s bike that lived in our shed for close to a decade. Two years ago I got it back into serviceable condition and I mostly use it to commute to the subway station and some cross training. Then I decided to sign up for a triathlon.)
Con: It looks like it could fall apart at any second.
Pro: Someone is less likely to steal it because it looks like it would disintegrate as the thief rode it away.
(Although I did once have my super shitty looking bike stolen, that I had bought for like 30 shekels when I was studying in Tel Aviv. That was annoying.)
Con: Other riders point and laugh at you.
(That might just be the social anxiety talking.)
So today, being in the high 60s in Massachusetts, I decided it was time to at least try to make my bike look less…sad. Armed with my dividend and Member 20% off, I went to REI last night and bought it some front and rear lights. (FYI, it’s the law! I’d always known that but since I ride in a super residential area, I’ve been able to get away with no lights up to now.) Today, following a quick (muddy) early spring hike in the Noanet Woodlands, I went to Lowe’s and bought steel wool.
Then I co-opted some white vinegar and got to work!
From Googling and talking with my coworker about rust removal, I agree that this would have worked a little bit better if I had taken everything apart and soaked the worst of the rust off. But the 5% acid vinegar and a lot of scrubbing took off a pretty good amount of it. I no longer feel like a tetanus shot should be required to ride, though it could be better.
It also did this to my hands.
(They’re still kind of orange.)
I also gave my bike a new sticker!
[Not pictured: Other side, adorned with an ACLU ‘Dissent is Patriotic’ sticker.]
We’re ready for adventure! I mean, I guess we’re mostly ready for a 2ish mile commute to the subway station, but also for triathlon training AND…
The Midnight Ride! (T-7 days away!) More on that next week!