7 Ways Old Parts Become New Art

Spend enough time around bikes, and before you know it you'll have an overflowing parts bin. It's just a fact of life that the amount of stuff "leftover" will always be greater than original stuff, just ask anyone who's owned a bike, started a hobby, or built something from ikea. So what do you with all those extra bits once you finally have enough bikes*? In today's post, we'll look at the creative ways other riders are repurposing old parts into new art!


Clocks! They’re everywhere. On our walls, on our wrists, in our pockets, but you know what people have an almost infinite tolerance for? That’s right, more clocks! Lucky for us, whipping up clocks is a breeze too. Just grab a clock kit from your favorite hobby store, slap it on some old parts, and you’re good to go! Clock kits are super cheap, but you can also save some dough by snagging an old clock from the thrift store and tearing it down. The only two downsides to that method are 1) you have to make sure the old clock keeps time and 2) you’ve just begun your clock parts’ bin. That might not be such a problem though, because once you make your first clock, suddenly everything looks like potential timepiece. Old records, books, roommates – nothing is safe. But they do make great gifts!


Ok, everything we just said about clocks? Double it for lamps. Great use for old parts? Check. Easy to do with a kit from your favorite hobby shop or an old donor from a thrift store? Check. May turn you into a lamp-making maniac? Check (but at least your family will appreciate a change from all the clocks)! Just be sure to stock up on cool lightbulbs before everything switches over to LEDs/CFLs.


What good’s a shop full of parts if you’ve got no place to sit? This project’s as intense as you want it to be. From simple bar stools to full on lounge chairs with built in bottle cages, the only limit to what you can come up with is your imagination (and maybe your welding skills).


And now that you’ve got a place to relax, isn’t it about time to get your bike off the floor too? That old set of bars can become a handy wall rack, while old forks and frames can be repurposed into a work stand or a wall of racks for your fleet! You can even make yourself a toolbox or parts drawer so you have a place to stash the leftovers you didn’t use in its construction!


But don’t limit yourself to the practical, the best art is anything but! They say the key to sculpting an elephant is to start with a block of marble and chip away everything that doesn’t look like the elephant. It’s kind of the opposite with bike art: start with all of your parts, but only put together the ones that look like your scultpture. Boom – arted.


And when it comes to sculpture, there’s something undeniably appealing about animals made of bits of bike. Picasso famously used a saddle and some handlebars to make his “Bull Head”, and other enterprising artists have created entire menageries out of their old chains and frames. Maybe this is the right time to start looking at your pile of bikes and seeing where the elephant is hiding. Or maybe start with something smaller – leftover bits of chain? No, those are snakes!


And what about those last bits that look nothing like animals? Or the ones you cherish too much to scrap completely? While you’re waiting for the right build to make them relevant again, just pop ‘em on your desk to hold your papers down. Paperweights make you seem busy and important (“Look at all this paper! He needs heavy stuff to keep it all in place.”) and using bike parts makes it easy to identify the other riders in your office. Just keep an eye on the good stuff – your campy inbox weight could be just what Chad in accounting’s been missing from his commuter. We’re on to you, Chad! Hands off!


* Trick question: You can never have "enough" bikes. The law of N+1 dictates that the number of bikes you need is always N+1, where N = the number of bikes you currently own.