DIY: How to Upcycle Used Bike Parts
If you’ve been cycling for any length of time, you’ll notice the drawer of worn-out bike parts in your garage can fill up pretty quickly. From tubes and tires to brake rotors, chains, cassettes and wheels, every part on your bike will eventually need to be replaced.
As a downhill mountain bike racer, tires and rims are two things that pile up toward the end of the season and they are two things that you can’t simply throw in your mixed recycling bin. Here are a few ways I’ve upcycled my broken, used, unwanted rims, tires and wheels!
Bicycle Rim Wall Art
Turn a dented rim into an impressive piece of art for your home!
*For this design, a 32-hole rim is required for symmetry. Double check the diameter of your spoke holes to ensure M3 is the proper size for your rim (M3=3mm diameter).
- Remove rim tape and clean your rim with soap and water.
- Place the head of the screw on the allen wrench and carefully feed it through the spoke hole opening in the rim.
- Attach the ring-shaped eye nut to the screw and tighten until the ring no longer pivots. The ring should be positioned so the opening is inline with the rim.
- Repeat this process, skipping one hole between each eye nut and screw to total 16 rings.
- Tie the string, twine, or yarn of choice to one of the rings. This is your “#1”. Imagine each ring is numbered clockwise from this point, with the ring to the left being “#16”.
- From #1, run the twine through #8 and #15, creating a point.
- From #15, run the twine through #6 and #13, creating a second point. Continue this process: 13-4-11, 11-2-9, 9-16-7, 7-14-5, 5-12-3, 3-10-1
- You should now have gone through all the rings and have a star! Pull out any slack in the twine and tie off on #1.
- You could stop here and have a cool piece of art, but I kept going. I then ran a second color twine through all the rings to make a circle and tied off on a ring, making sure to remove any slack in the twine.
- Tie the same color twine to the circle you just made, centered between two points of your first star.
- Using the same logic as your first star, loop the twine (without tying it) around the twine circle you created between two rings. For example, to create your first point, start at 1.5-8.5-15.5.
- Once finished creating your second 16-point star, remove any slack and tie the twine to your starting place at 1.5.
- You could also totally stop here! But, I kept going.
- Using a third color twine, repeat steps from your first star. This works best if one of the colors is light (I used yellow) and one is darker (I used red).
- You’re done! Put a nail in the wall and hang that beautiful piece of art with pride!
DIY Bike Wheel Picture Frame
Extra wheel laying around the house or garage? Without many supplies or fuss, you could turn that wheel into an awesome way display all your favorite cycling photos.
- Wheel (Any size or type of wheel will do. A front wheel is preferred, so you don’t have to remove the cassette or driver body)
- Clothes Pins (I used fancy metal ones to match my silver rim, but any will do!)
- Photos (You know all those photos on your phone… you can print them! Use your home printer or an online service, there are several out there – I used Snapfish.)
- Wash your wheel with soap and water. Let dry, or dry with a microfiber cloth.
- If using a rear wheel, remove cassette and driver body to minimize weight. I also removed one of the end caps from my front wheel so that the wheel sat flush with the wall when hanging.
- Using your clothes pins, attach photos to the spokes.
- For hanging, you can use a long nail through the hub. HOWEVER, keep in mind, your wheel will spin if you use this method!
Mountain Bike Tire Bird Feeder
Used mountain bike tires can quickly and easily become a vessel to feed backyard birds.
- A mountain bike tire (Wider tires will hold more bird seed and tires with thicker sidewalls and more substantial bead will hold their shape better for this DIY project)
- A tube (used or not) – Sure, you could also use string, twine, or rope, but in the spirit of upcycling, we’re using bike parts!
- Heavy-duty scissors
- Bird seed
- Clean your tire and remove as much dried sealant as possible.
- Cut your tire. Cutting through the bead can be difficult, depending on the type of tire you’re using. Exercise caution and use heavy-duty, sharp scissors. Cut through the bead, across the tread, and through the bead on the other side. Repeat for the desired length of tire. For the oval bird feeder, I used about 1/3 of a 27.5-inch tire.
- Cut your tube. Your goal here is to create the string to hang your bird feeder from. Cut the tube across and then lengthwise to filet it open. Then, cut the tube into strips. They don’t have to be perfect. Aim for about 1/4-1/2 inch wide strips.
- Drill holes at the end of your tire on either side of the tread. It is best to do this on a surface where you can drill straight down (like the hay bale I used).
- Loop the tire to create a circle, overlapping the tire where you drilled the holes. Using a marker or pen, poke through the holes you drilled to mark the other end of the tire and drill holes.
- Using one of the drill bits, poke the end of your tube/string through the hole on the outside of the tire. Pull the tube through the other side and tie a knot.
- Loop the tire again to create a circle. Where the holes overlap, poke the tube up through the inside of the tire. Tie a tight knot.
- Tie another knot in tube 5-10 inches away.
- Poke the tube through the hole you drilled on the other side of the tread and down through the hole overlapping tire.
- Tie a final knot on the underside of the tire.
- You should now have an oval-shaped tire with a handle on top.
- Hang your bird feeder from a hook by the tube “handle” and fill with bird seed.
- Get creative and make different shapes!
There are a ton of different ways to upcycle used bike parts! Share your ideas with us on social media by tagging @livcycling on Instagram or Facebook, @livcyclingworld on Twitter.