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The Green Life: How to Turn Your Old Bike Into a Reindeer

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November 30, 2011

How to Turn Your Old Bike Into a Reindeer

Reindeer bicycleSpread holiday cheer (and cut down on plastic kitsch) by decorating your yard with a red-nosed two-wheeler.

People get attached to their bicycles — and not just because they use clip-in pedals. That's one reason why bikes gather dust in the garage long after we've replaced them with newer, shinier models (Americans buy 20 million new bicycles a year). The frame may be bent, the chain rusted, the paint chipped — but we just can't let go.

This project will help you finally put your two-wheeled friend out to pasture, at least for a few weeks each year. Using simple bike tools, we turned an ancient one-speeder into a decorative reindeer for the yard during the holiday season.

When December has come and gone, you can stash your reindeer until next year or turn it back into a bike. Or, if you won't be using the thing again, you can donate it to one of the many organizations, like Pedals for Progress, that refurbish old bikes and give them to the needy.


 ° A bike
° Allen wrench, vise-grip pliers, screwdriver, and other hand tools for disassembling your bike 
° A chain-removal tool
° Crank puller (a crank extractor) and a crank bolt wrench (typically an 8-mm hex wrench)
° Liquid Wrench, WD-40, or a similar type of solvent to loosen rusted bolts
° 2 pieces of scrap wood (one about 3½ by 9 inches; the other about 4½ by 12 inches)
° 4 wood screws
° A power drill 
° Large zip ties (optional)

The most complicated part of this project is stripping the bike down to its frame. Basic instructions are provided here, but bikes come in many varieties, so if you need help, go to Atomic Zombie's guide for detailed diagrams and other useful information. If removing a particular part stumps you, you can probably find a video showing how to do it on YouTube.

For step-by-step instructions about how to turn your old bicycle into a reindeer, click below:

--Wendy Becktold / photo: Lori Eanes / based on an instructables.com project by Randy Lamb

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