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Special brew home economics for cyclists


The past few evenings have seen me confined to the garage for the annual rust-proofing of my fleet. For those unfamiliar with this ritual, it involves standing a five litre drum of gloop in a bucket of boiling water for about twenty minutes in the hope of it liquefying to the point it can be sprayed, or otherwise poured into the seat-tube(s).

Many of you will point out that these and other commercially available products are available in aerosol form with a handy little applicator, making it a five-minute job with notably less mess. However, having several steeds and a small car chassis to treat, the five-litre drum represents much better value. There’s no real mystery to the mix and you can brew industrial quantities at home using readily available ingredients. That's what I do.

Necessity is the mother of invention and as an undergraduate; I became surprisingly adept at brewing my own greases, corrosion inhibitors and other potions. Such fervent corrosion busting alchemy was only marred by a housemate tossing the burning embers of his cigarette butt into the “distillery” (a converted outdoor toilet) with explosive results!

So be warned while making your own rust-busting brew will save you money it also requires great care every step of the way - this is a highly flammable mixture

What you’ll need:

2.3 litres of Turpentine

12OZ Bees/Candle wax

1 litre of Machine Oil

Old Cheese Grater

Old wooden spoon

Clearly marked Container (Pump-spray pesticide kits from garden centres are ideal)


Pour the turpentine into the container, grater the candle/beeswax into the turpentine and blend laboriously until completely dissolved using the wooden spoon. Add the machine oil so as to achieve a spray-able consistency. Apply liberally through the seat tube, revolving the frame to ensure even coverage, lay old newspaper underneath to collect any overspill and where possible, store the frameset/bike in a warm part of the house overnight to cure thoroughly. Repeat the process on bikes seeing hard service every six months.

If bikes remain confined to the garage or shed, you can cheat by gently heating the tubes with a hair-dryer-although be very careful, this mixture is extremely flammable. Under no circumstances allow naked flames or sources of ignition to contaminate your working/storage area, ensure plenty of ventilation before you start and if Grandpa Joe fancies a Marlboro, show him the door.

If you are in any doubt whatsoever, purchase a commercially available product. Always label containers clearly and store safely away from children and pets.

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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