My hubby has a new bike.
Actually, it’s a new-to-him bike. The bike itself is very, very old, having been a bar mitzvah gift to my father-in-law (he’s now 68 years old – you do the math.) It’s been hiding in my in-laws’ garage for a long time – twenty years at the very least – but its potential was easy to spot even through decades’ worth of dust and grease. As soon as I saw it I knew it had to be Mr. December’s next bike.
Now, I’m not a bike mechanic. I didn’t know the second thing about bikes (I did know the first thing – that sometimes tires need to be pumped up and chains need to be oiled.) Fortunately for me, there’s a collective called Bike Pirates that offers a DIY bike repair space, tools and parts, and volunteers to help guide you – on a pay-what-you-can basis. Even better? Sundays are reserved for women and transfolk, with the aim of removing at least some of the barriers that exist for women and transfolk to learn to fix their bikes. In practical terms this means that when I arrived with a curious toddler, a volunteer was happy to entertain her with random bicycle parts while I worked on the bike. And worked. And worked.
I installed a new rear brake and new brake pads in front and in rear. I de-greased. I scrubbed the chain and oiled it anew. I removed the tires, checked the inner tubes, and installed new tires. I trued up the rear wheel. I replaced the gearshift cable and learned how to oil a Sturmey-Archer internal hub. I fixed the lopsidedness of the handlebars. I installed a (previously loved) kickstand.
Then I came home and installed a rear carrier rack… with zip ties, since I was missing some of the hardware. And finally, the piece de resistance… a milk crate.
Isn’t it a hipster’s dream?
Now here’s the question: Initially we decided not to re-paint the rusty parts, and to put on a milk crate instead of a fancy cargo-carrier, on the theory that it would look less shiny-new and less worth stealing. Seeing as it’s extremely retro-cool, do you think the bike is more likely or less likely to get stolen than if we had given it a new paint job?