It always happens, after your son has been out of bicycling for 5 years or so, he wakes up and asks to ride his bike again. You pull it out of the garage and it is covered in rust and dirt. The pedals don’t move because the chain is completely rusted. The seat is loose, and the hand grips torn. It would take a miracle to get this bike ready to ride again, or would it?
Start with an overall cleaning. Scrub the bike down with sop and water, the hose it off. Then dry it off with a rag or an old towel. Now lets begin with rust removal. Don’t panic, there is an easy way to do this. Get a rust removal cream from your local auto shop, and a rag. Rub the rust cream on the rusty areas only and begin to rub it right off. Stubborn rust may need some elbow grease. The rust should come off without an insane amount of effort. Once the rust is removed do another quick wash down with soap and water. Avoid the chain at this point, we will deal with that last.
Next, check out the condition of the hand grips. Are they torn? Are they loose? If so, just change them. They can be cheaply purchased or ordered from your local bike shop. Leaving loose hand grips on the bike could end up being a safety issue for your son, so don’t ignore loose grips. Now what condition is the seat in? Is it loose? Dirty? Torn? If it’s just loose, then use monkey wrench and tighten the main screw joint under the seat to the needed height. If done correctly the seat should not move when you put pressure on it. If it is dirty, use a simple vinyl or leather cleaner on it. Do not use Armor All on the seat, it will cause the rider to slip off the seat when riding. If the seat is torn you can do one of two things. You can either use black duct tape over the tear or simply re-order another seat at your local bike shop. The seat should also be fairly inexpensive.
Now for the kickstand. An important asset if you want to keep that bike in good condition. Laying a bike down causes more physical damage than a bike that sits unused for a period of time. Make sure it opens easily and supports the bike without moving. If you cannot open the kickstand simply spray a little WD40 on it at the joint. Be sparing as you don’t want the kickstand to be too loose. If it is rusted you can also use your rust removal cream on it and wipe the rust away. Lastly, your rusted chain. You will need to spray WD40 liberally along the chain, then roll the pedals forward to promote movement. It may take a couple of sprays before the chain starts to loosen. It needs to be lubricated throughout, that’s why when you are turning the pedals you should spray the WD40 at the same time. The pedals should move easily now.
Well, all you need is your bike helmet and elbow pads, and you are ready to ride. To avoid having to repeat this scenario in another few years, keep the bike covered when not in use. Storing it in a warm, dry place is recommended.