Right now, Mary Poppins (my 1966 Phillips loop-frame bike) is in as-found condition and needs a little TLC, mainly rust removal and paint touchup, but not much. I found a genius post on Old Bike Blog on how to Green Clean Your Bicycle. Furthermore, the fabulous Miss Sarah tipped me off to the existence of a nontoxic, relatively eco-friendly rust remover called Rust Cure (which it turns out is considerably less expensive than the Cream of Tartar suggested in the eco-cleaning article), also recommended by one of Old Bike Blog’s readers. So, for Mary’s cleanup, I plan to use a combination of those sustainable methods and a lot of elbow grease. I’m really not sure how I’ll go about doing paint touch-up yet, and I’m not even sure I should – the original finish is in pretty good shape. So, to protect it with wax, or with a coating of clear acrylic Krylon spray, or both?
Miss Mary’s basket will need a liner, as there are a couple of little breaks in the metal – but since it’s vintage, it’s not current standard dimensions (15″ x 10″ top, 5.5″ deep, and smaller at the bottom than the top), so I can’t just order an already-made one from Lucky Find Designs or Betty Bike Basket Liners on Etsy. Since it needs to be custom, I might as well dust off my sewing machine and make it myself out of vintage fabric – watch for a future post on that.
The mattress saddle has some tears in the vinyl and isn’t especially cushy, so to protect its as-found finish – and my tail – I think I’ll also make a padded seat cover. Bust magazine ran an article on Pimping Your Ride that was mentioned somewhere, but I’ll need to look it up in print, since the how-to-make instructions for the seat cover isn’t part of the PDF on the Bust website (it’s just a faux-logo pattern, so not me) and the article is no longer archived there. [Update: I found it! It’s pages 21-23 of the Feb/Mar 2007 issue, which you can find at your local library or order through Bust’s website.)
Eventually I’d like to add an aluminum rack to the back and attach a wooden wine box, a fabric-covered milk crate, or a sweet vintage-style covered box pannier for additional storage. I do have an empty milk crate awaiting a new purpose, and wouldn’t Mary look sweet with matching covers in three spots?
If I decide I need a child seat for my little guy, here is inspiration for a DIY child seat spiff-up. (Of course, in researching child seats I’ve determined that the best one for my needs is a Bobike Junior… I wonder how impossible it is to find here?)
I’ll also need a lock, since that was stolen with my old bike. I love the idea of a U-lock cozy that I saw on the Lovely Bicycle! blog (there’s a Lock Cozy group on Flikr, too). Spincycle Yarns sell a pattern for a felted one that looks easy even for a novice knitter like me, if I decide I’d rather not sew one from the same fabrics I’m using for my other covers. (Also, their steampunk capelet would be supadupacute for cycling, no?)
Figuring it’ll take me forever to find a vintage Phillips bell, I picked up a cute little Lime bell by Trek, but I may return it now that I’ve discovered dringdring’s Etsy shop full of adorable handpainted bells.
For my helmet*, since I can’t possibly afford that Yakkay helmet that looks like a fedora right now, initially I thought I’d take inspiration from RidingPretty and spiff up an off-the-shelf helmet with a strategically glued-on flower. However, I’m starting with Nutcase’s rainbow-polkadot sk8-style helmet, which is already fun and fabulous:
*[And yes, I’m aware that in some circles my choice to wear one at all is a political statement. I sympathize with both sides of that argument, but honestly? I’ve made my choice for personal reasons. I have kids who have to wear mandatory helmets for their skating lessons. I’m trying to convince them that it’s no big deal, and that helmets can be fun. Also, my husband’s cousin owes his life to his helmet (he was paralyzed in a car-bike accident), so hubby has strong convictions about the importance of helmets.]
I’m also coveting a DIY skirt/coat guard like the netted one in this Flikr photo by Andre Koopmans. A commenter on Lovely Bicycle! mentioned this European (Dutch?) website selling handcrocheted (or knitted?) jasbeschermers – so pretty, and I think their use of bulldog clips to attach to the mudguards is ingenious. [Update: I’ve found a discussion of how to make a classic skirt net out of hat elastic, with great photos, on this Aussie forum. I also found a shop in the UK that will ship the standard plastic ones used in Europe internationally.]
I’d also love to have a cape. Not a rain poncho, since with only a coaster brake I won’t be riding when it’s wet, but something for cool weather. There are several pretty ones on Etsy, but most of them don’t look like they’re actually warm enough for chilly days in spring and fall. I may need to find a pattern for this too.
So, who wants to watch my kids so I can get all this done?
(Some content of this post was originally published on Deborah’s other blog.)