After many years of not owning a bicycle and not having the option of “borrowing” any that were left behind at my parent’s house, but wanting to ride again, I asked for a new-used bike for my birthday, which I picked out in the spring.

I went on the hunt one Saturday in May to a plethora of the local new/used bike shops around town and came up with a dented and slightly rusty, vintage, 3-speed Raleigh. After a bit of searching on the web, I found some useful advice on how to de-rust the handle bars and other metal fixtures (See below for instructions), shined her up and voila!

Maid Marian on Flee Fly Flown

Behold, “Maid Marian”! I named the bike Maid Marian since Raleigh bicycles are made in Nottingham, England near Sherwood Forest. Maybe too obvious, but I like it.

Anyway… I picked up a new helmet, basket and a few other accessories, reviewed the rules of the road, and now I’m riding around town more and more without the use of  gasoline. My goal is to ride my bike across town to work; however, last week’s start of road construction on a big chunk of the route I had mapped, threw a wrench in those plans. I’m aiming for a test run of a different route this weekend.

I have some planned improvements for my bike such as a paint job, new seat and different handle grips, but in the meantime she’s running well. Check out these basic accessories to consider if you’re thinking of jumping back in the saddle, too.

Basic Bicycle Gear on Flee Fly Flown

Top row, left to right: Trek Eco-Design Belleville Bicycle, $659.99. Bern Bike Helmut, $60. Middle Row: Brooks Handle Grips, $75. Headlamp, $29.95. Tail light, $11.99. Bell, $6. Bottom row: Design House Bicycle Basket, $80. U-Lock with Chord, $30.00. Air pump, $18.98.

Now I just need got get over wardrobe and hair challenges. More on those issues throughout the week, but in the meantime, here’s the basic run down of how to de-rust metal handle bars.

De-Rusting Metal such as bicycle handle bars:


–         White Vinegar
–         Aluminum Foil
–         Paper Towel or Rag
–         Water


  1. Wrap a piece of tin foil around your finger, or form it into a pad and dip it into the vinegar.
  2. In circular movements, wipe at the rust spots on the metal. With the other hand, hold a paper towel or rag under the area you’re working so that you don’t drip everywhere.
  3. Wipe the area with a damp cloth after you’ve finished with it.
  4. Presto change-o!

This worked like a charm on my rusty handle bars. Apparently the vinegar and aluminum foil cause a chemical reaction with the rust. I also read that steal wool can scratch up the metal, which is why I went searching for a different alternative in the first place.

Happy cycling!

- Colleen