Monday, June 23, 2008

Reader Project: Lissa's Blue Bombshell

Lissa from New York posted a comment about my wife's Schwinn Suburban a few weeks ago, saying that she has one of her own that she has recently invested in as a supplemental and possibly alternative form of transportation to her car.  Her beautiful "Blue Bombshell" as I dubbed it (a name that's stuck, apparently), needs a bit of work to get it going again.  As she reports (with a few helpful tips on cleaning):

Up until now, all I've done is clean her up a bit -- steel wool and a combination of vinegar and water have cleaned up the rust on the wheels, the handlebars, and all of the little metal bits that surely have specific purposes, but which I don't have particular names for.  My friend has all of the tools necessary for restoring her to functional use, so with his help I'll be removing (and possibly replacing) the gears and the chain, the brakes and brake housings, and the inner-tubes....While he has the bike in pieces, I'll do some other cosmetic stuff with the kickstand, rear rack, wheel hubs, and underside of the seat beneath the fabulous leather saddle, making a CLR-based paste to work on some of that rust.

Lissa also wanted to know what would be a good surface treatment to protect the paint.  I suggest a few coats of a quality automobile polish which will go a long way to protect against scrapes and scuffs.  However, a slightly scruffy-looking bike is a surprisingly good theft-deterrent, so don't make it look too nice!

Lissa is planning a move to New York City and is looking forward to using her bike to haul herself and her accoutrements around the city.  She promises pictures of herself tooling about the city with stuffed panniers and baskets full of produce.  We'll look forward to it, Lissa, and happy riding!


  1. Nice choice in bikes Lissa! I would not bother with the clear coat. A heavy coat of paste wax is a much better choice.


  2. Thom, thanks so much for highlighting the Bombshell! (Sorry I didn't see this post earlier in the week -- I've been readying for vacation.)

    And since Aaron is the second person to recommend wax, I'll try that option, first.


  3. I probably should post my reasons for not using clear coat spray...if you aren't meticulous (and even if you are) with cleaning and prep work the clear coat may not stick and it hard to get on evenly. Wax is easy and very forgiving. Also the solvent in many clear coats can damage the decals.

    I have a men's Schwinn Suburban but it is in very bad shape. Color happens to be the dark green.


  4. Ah, thanks Aaron, I didn't know that about clear coat and decal damage. When I repainted and clear-coated my Columbia, I didn't have to worry about decals, but I did have some trouble getting an even coat, and there was some minor cracking in places. So, based on all that, I withdraw my earlier clear coat suggestion, and fully endorse the wax route.