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REPURPOSE | Trash into Treasures

Reindeer Bike

Text and photos by Wendy Becktold

Lori Eanes

Spread some holiday cheer (and cut down on the 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 so often 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, I turned my ancient one-speeder into a reindeer to decorate my yard during the holiday season.

What You'll Need
° Bike
° Allen wrench, vise grip pliers, screwdriver, and other hand tools for disassembling your bike
° Chain removal tool
° Crank puller (also called a crank extractor) and possibly a crank bolt wrench (typically an 8-millimeter hex wrench)
° Liquid Wrench, WD-40, or other solvent to loosen rusted bolts
° Two pieces of scrap wood (one approximately 3½ by 9 inches and the other approximately 4½ by 12 inches
° 4 wood screws
° Power drill
° Large zip ties (optional)

Daily household garbage in the United States increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, which is why it's best to deck the yard with materials at hand. Once December has come and gone, you can stash the reindeer until next year or turn it back into a bike.

If you won't be riding it in the future, consider donating it to one of the many organizations, like Pedals for Progress, that refurbish old bikes and give them to the needy.


The most complicated part of this project is stripping your bike down to its frame. Some basic instructions are provided here, but bikes come in endless varieties, so if you need more help, check out 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 or

Based on a project by Randy Lamb on

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