Breathe new life into your neglected or worn bits

Inspired by the story of upcycling UK charity Cycle of Good, we thought we’d look at what you could do with those old bits in the garage.

1. Inner tubes

Starting with the simplest of bits, the humble inner tube. You can of course donate them to charities such as Cycle of Good by dropping them off at Cycle Surgery, or you can put them to use around the home and on your bike. We made a video about our ten favourite things to do with inner tubes. Check it out.

2. Tyres

Old worn out tyres make great chain stay or down tube protectors. Simply cut a strip out of the centre of the tread to the right dimensions to fit around the tube you want to protect and then attach using zip ties. One tyre can be used to make loads so you can share with friends or have a ready supply for when one gets a bit grubby or worn.

3. Chains

After inner tubes and tyres we get through chains quicker than most other components. Make use of bits of old chain to make a homemade chainwhip to aid the removal of a cassette. Here’s a simple four step guide to making your own chain whip. If you’re feeling a bit more creative and artsy you might want to look at some of these ideas for inspiration as to just what a humble bit of old bike chain can be turned into.

Watch: Top super cheap workshop hacks

4. Chainrings

Even though a lot of us are running 1x drivetrains these days there are still loads of riders that either run multiple chainrings or have a chainset converted from a 2x or 3x. If so you can take an old chainring (make sure it’s bigger than the one you already run) and covert it into a ghetto bash guard to protect your chain and chainring. Either angle grind or cut off the teeth on the chainring you are going to use as the bash guard (don’t get muddled up with your chainrings!) making sure that the donor chainring is big enough to protect your proper ring even when cut down – try an old triple outer ring as a starting point. Then when it’s cut down fit into the outer ring position and voila! A bash guard for free.

5. Cassettes

A bit of a festive one here. Old cassette cogs kind of look a little bit like snowflakes (if you squint). So clean ’em up, tie a bit of ribbon or fishing wire and make some ‘unusual’ tree decorations. Not only will you mark yourself out as a rider but you could play the ‘guess what speed cassette?’ game with your riding mates over a glass of mulled wine. Failing that, they also make great coasters for said mulled wine.

6. Handlebars

Ever struggle when trying to remove pedals, bottom brackets or cassettes? Often the existing tools can’t apply enough leverage to easily undo these bits. This is where an old handlebar can come into play. Simply insert the open end of the bar over the allen key or other tool and you can instantly apply enough leverage to loosen even the most stubborn parts. Leave on one grip to give you a more comfortable purchase point.

7. Frames

We’ve all seen the spectators at races smashing the heck out of a broken frame to make loud noises. Well that’s one use of an old frame or you could turn it into a cool bit of wall art or a lamp like these:

8. Spokes

Spokes are super useful even when not used to keep your wheels running round and straight. An old spoke can be used as an essential tool to help recabling an internal cabled frame. You can use them as hooks to store your kit in the garage. Carry a bit of old spoke and it can be strong enough to hold a chain together as a bodge fix to get you home. Or, like many other bits, spokes can be made into jewellery and art pretty simply as well.

9. Water bottles

Who hasn’t got a cupboard in the kitchen bursting with water bottles? Those old mouldy ones can be turned into a few different things pretty simply. How about some funky plant pots to grow your herbs? Just cut the top off and you’ve instantly got some cycling themed planters. Failing that you can use them in the workshop to store all those small parts that keep going missing. Or for a more cycling based use, cut the top off, stuff with your tools and spares and use it as an on-bike storage solution. Make sure to use something to keep it all in place. We like to use some rags, a cut out bit of plastic bag and a rubber band (made from an old inner tube of course!) to keep everything watertight and rattle free.

10. Give stuff to younger riders

Of course the best use of your old kit and components is to help someone else get into riding. You’ll either already know someone who would benefit or failing that there are loads of local cycling clubs that would be able to point you in the right direction. And there’s nothing better than knowing you’re ensuring the future of our sport.