Hints for cyclists

  •  Shine your bike with furniture polish

Once your bike is clean, you may want to shine it up. Instead of using liquid or paste wax and spending time applying the wax to the bike's various tubes, joints and hard-to-reach spots, all you really need to do is spray the bike all over with a furniture polish containing wax —something you may well have around the house.

  •  Salt-and-lemon juice rust buster

Salt can cause metal to rust — yet it can also be used to remove rust. If any rust spots appear on the handlebars or wheel rims of your bike, try this home remedy. In a small container, mix ¼ cup (60g) salt with 2 tablespoons lemon juice to make a paste. Apply the paste to the rusted area with a dry cloth and rub it in. Rinse and then dry thoroughly and step back to admire your rust-free bike.

  • Maintain your chain with WD-40

The hardest part of a bicycle to clean is the chain. But you can make the job easier with a little WD-40. Turn the bike upside down and spray some WD-40 onto a soft clean cloth. Rub the chain with the cloth a few links at a time. Then move the pedals forwards to work on a new section of chain.

Once the entire chain is clean, carefully dislodge it from the chain ring (the metal toothed wheel that engages it) and use a screwdriver or blunt knife to remove any dirt that may be lodged between the chain ring's teeth. Once that is done, use a cloth to polish between the teeth with a back-and-forth flossing motion and then replace the chain.

  •  Spray for a smooth ride

To keep the chain of your bicycle well lubricated, spray it with WD-40 and wipe off any excess with a soft cloth. You can also spray WD-40 into the cables and bearings to drive out moisture and also on the springs in the seat to eliminate squeaking. Finally, spray the frame of the bike to keep dust from sticking to it.

  •  Repair a slash with a folded paper

If a sharp rock or anything else in the road slashes a tyre, you can patch the puncture in the inner tube, but it will bulge out through the slash in the tyre when you try to ride. After patching the inner tube, prevent it from bulging by folding a thickish piece of paper — it could be a paper note — into at least four layers and tucking it between the inner tube and the slash in the tyre. This quick fix should hold for at least a short ride home.

  • Let nature help you with a flat tyre

 If you get a flat tyre while cycling and don't have a repair kit with you, completely deflate the tyre, turn the bike upside down and pull one side of the damaged tyre out from the rim of the wheel. A good way to work it out is with the wide end of a house key, but any dull metal object will do. Once the tyre is loose around one side, find some leaves and grass along the roadside and stuff them inside the rim. Then squeeze the tyre back into place and ride straight home. The repair will allow you to ride (carefully) for a while, but not for long, so repair the flat properly as soon as possible.

  •  Baby powder for a smoother ride

If you're a motorcyclist who likes to deck yourself out in leather before taking to the road, sprinkle the bike seat with baby powder before you mount. The fine powder will make it easier for you to slide freely from side to side on the seat, assuring a smooth ride.

  •  Keep your visor fog free

To keep a motorcycle helmet visor from fogging up on the road, put a drop of washing-up liquid on the inside, then rub it over the whole surface with your finger until it's no longer visible.

  •  Motorbike wash-time protectors

If your motorcycle gets caked with mud and grease from the road, you will probably want to hose it down. Be careful to keep the pressurized water away from the cables and controls. The easiest way to do this is to cover them with plastic. Save the plastic sleeves that often come with mail-out magazines and catalogues, and slip them over the handlebars before washing your bike. To keep water out of the ignition lock, put a piece of masking tape over the keyhole.

Credit: Reader's Digest

Picture Credit: Google

A clean and tidy garage and driveway

  •  Avoid nicks with carpet

If your garage is cramped and you tend to bump your car door on the wall when you get out, attach carpet offcuts to the garage wall where the door hits. The carpet will soften the blow and prevent nicks and dents.

  •  Install a bumper

If you need to reverse your car all the way into the garage until it almost hits the back wall, fix an old tyre onto the wall at bumper height. If you do reverse in a little too far, your bumper will hit the pliant tyre and save both the car and the wall from damage.

  •  A combination work seat and tool caddy

If you're tinkering with something on a low part of your car, you may find it hard to keep squatting or kneeling as you work, when in fact you don't need to. Instead, make an easily constructed combination seat-tool caddy out of a sturdy plastic crate or wooden box. Bolt a 2 x 7-cm strip of wood onto two parallel sides of the underside of the box or crate. At the ends of each strip, attach screw-cap casters. You can now store your tools inside the crate or box — and you can sit on top of the caddy as you work. Just be sure to put the lid on — or put a sheet of plywood on top of the box to use as a seat.

  •  Slide right under on vinyl

You don't have to buy a special trolley to work under your car. Simply place a 1.2 x 1.5-m scrap of vinyl flooring on your garage floor or driveway pavement — shiny side up — and park the car over it; keep a metre or so of the vinyl protruding from under the car. Lie on your back on the vinyl and you have a slippery mat that lets you easily slide underneath the car.

  •  Prevent spots leaving stains

Many garages and driveways are spoiled by unsightly — and sometimes dangerously slippery — grease stains from oil leaks or greasy tools. Prevent stains when you work by covering the area with newspaper or paper bags. If your car is leaking even a little oil, place an unopened brown paper bag or a flattened cardboard box under the leak and replace as necessary.

  •  Contain dust with newspaper

Before sweeping out a dusty area of the garage, shred a bunch of old newspaper, dampen it with warm water and scatter it around the area. The soggy paper will keep the dust from rising and resettling as you're sweeping.

  •  Stop water seeping through a garage door

If water sometimes seeps in through your garage door during heavy rainfall, spray the seal on the door with WD-40. The seepage should stop, even when the rain doesn't.

Credit: Reader's Digest

Picture Credit: Google

Tips for larger vehicles

  •  'Carpet' a ute tray

Line the tray of your ute with an old carpet remnant to keep your cargo from rattling or being knocked around and damaged. The carpet will make the drive easier on your precious cargo and on your ears.

  •  Shower curtain-rod dividers

A good way to keep things in place in the back of a ute is to set up a series of movable barriers. Try fitting a series of spring-loaded shower curtain rails at strategic points, wedging them between the sides of the ute's tray. You can then move them around to push against any cargo and keep it from rattling or breaking as you drive along.

  •  On board catch-ails for 4WDs

Sometimes the amount of stuff that rattles around in a four-wheel drive that is needed to accommodate a big family knows no bounds. Keep the stuff under control by wedging a plastic milk crate (with a padded rim, if you have very young children) or laundry basket in a central spot in the vehicle, and urging young passengers to store their playthings and books there when not using them.

  •  Carry-along car wash for motorhomes and caravans

If you travel in a motorhome or tow a caravan and often stay at parks where water to wash your vehicle isn't available, make a batch of washing fluid and carry it with you. Pour ¼ cup (60ml) fabric softener into a 5-litre bottle and fill it almost to the top with water. Cap the bottle and shake well. When you're ready to wash your vehicle, put the liquid into a spray bottle and spray the vehicle at 1-m sections at a time. Let it sit for 10 seconds or so, then dry the area with paper towels or a chamois. You can also rely on this mixture during water restrictions, since it uses far less water than a standard wash.

  •  Keep mice out of your caravan or motorhome using steel wool

The access slots where you hook up a motorhome or caravan to a cable or hose are ‘step this way’ entries for mice and other small creatures. To take up the welcome mat in one fell swoop, wrap the cable or hose in steel wool before connecting it, making sure that the scratchy material seals the surrounding gap. With their entry barred, mice and other intruders should leave you in peace.

Along for the ride

  •  Storage basket hold-all

If you tend to collect things in your car and are at risk of drowning in the clutter, here's the simplest way to tidy up: keep a small plastic storage basket on the floor behind the driver's seat and use it to hold magazines, DVDs, cleaning supplies, catalogues, maps and anything else you accumulate. The clutter will be confined to a single spot and when you give someone a ride, you won't have to fight to make space for your passenger.

  •  Organize your record storage

It's important to keep your car's registration and records of mileage, maintenance and repair warranties where you can put your hands on them quickly. If they regularly get lost in the mess inside the glove box, store them in a self-sealing plastic bag.

  • Pillbox coin holders

Store spare coins in a used pill bottle and keep it in the drinks holder of your car. You will always have the correct change ready for putting into parking meters or for using in a vending machine on your travels.

  •  Keep garbage bags as a back-up

 Keep a number of large plastic garbage bags in your car for unexpected uses. You never know when you will need a container for things you acquire on the road or when you'll need to wrap up something greasy to keep it from soiling your upholstery. In the same way, if you spill something on the driver or front passenger seat, simply pull a garbage bag over the seat if you have to drive off before the offending spill dries. The bags can also protect your upholstery and carpet if children or pets pile into the car with wet or muddy feet.

  •  From briefcase to toolbox

If you have a worn, hard-framed briefcase, don't throw it away; put it to good use. Fill it with the tools that you need to carry in your car and store it in the boot. If you get a flat tyre or engine trouble on the road, the tools will be neatly packaged and readily at hand.

  •  A mini spade to the rescue

If you're likely to be driving through snowy conditions, keep a spade handy in case you have to dig out your car. Rather than a classic heavy shovel, your best bet is a sturdy toy spade, which will work better than you may think for digging out your car — and will take up less room in the boot.

  •  A drink tray for auto fluids

Make a convenient carrier for the various fluids that you need to keep on hand for your car, such as bottles of motor oil or antifreeze. Recycle a small cardboard box with collapsible dividers, like a wine bottle carrier, and reinforce the bottom with gaffer tape. It will ensure that all of the containers stay in one place and also keep them from sliding around in the boot.

  •  Washing powder as air freshener

Keep your boot smelling fresh even on hot summer days when these enclosed spaces can turn into ovens. Simply place a small open box of washing powder against the spare tyre and the boot will smell fresh in any weather. Keep the box no more than half full to prevent spills.

  •  Put on some weight

If you have a utility truck or a car that doesn't have four-wheel drive, you may need to keep something heavy in the tray or boot to prevent slipping and sliding on wet or icy roads. If your boot isn't full of heavy tools or something similar, fill a couple of pairs of thick pantihose with bricks and store them in the boot over the car's rear wheels. The pantihose will keep the bricks from sliding around, making a noise or from scattering dust throughout the boot.

Your car’s interior

  •  An odour-eating pair

Deodorize the interior of your car by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda over everything but the electronic equipment. Take a soft-bristled brush and work the bicarbonate of soda in well. Close the car up for an hour or so and then thoroughly vacuum the interior. To keep the car smelling fresh and clean, place a small open container filled with freshly ground coffee beans where it won't get knocked over. The grounds will absorb any strong odours that you bring into the car.

  •  No butts about bicarbonate of soda

Make good use of the ashtrays in your car by placing about 2cm bicarbonate of soda in the bottom of each one. If you smoke, it will keep cigarettes from smoldering and stinking up the car even after you've put them out. If you're a nonsmoker, the bicarbonate of soda will also absorb other stale smells.

  •  Baby-wipe your dash

If your car dashboard gets sticky from spilled drinks or greasy hands, clean it with baby wipes. Once it's clean, you can bring a shine to the dashboard with a little baby oil.

  •  Sweeten bad smells with vinegar

To remove the odour left when someone is carsick, wipe down vinyl upholstery (all of it) with a cloth soaked in a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water. Then place a bowl of vinegar on the car floor and keep the car closed up tight overnight. In the morning, wipe everything down with a damp cloth.

  •  Hold taping sessions

Carry a roll of tape in your glove box and use it for the following jobs, among others:

  1.  Tape your garage door opener to the under-side of the visor on the driver's side of the car. It will be handy, yet out of the way, and it won't fall into your lap as you drive.

  2.  Tape a pen to the dashboard just in case you need one; taping it will keep it from rolling around and getting lost.

  3.  Whenever you park in a busy supermarket car park, temporarily tape a distinctive paper or cloth flag to the top of your car’s antenna. When you come out laden with bags, you should be able to spot the car without going on a lengthy hunt.

  •  Magic carpet cleaner

No matter how meticulous you are, somehow or other greasy stains seem to always appear on car carpet. Luckily, they're not hard to fix. Mix equal parts salt and bicarbonate of soda and sprinkle the mixture over the grease spot. Use a stiff brush to work the mixture into the spot and let it sit for 4-5 hours. Vacuum it up and the stain should be gone.

  •  Prevent a flat battery with a tennis ball

If for some reason you need to keep a car door open for a while — and the internal light is one of those that you can't switch off — turn to a tennis ball. Just wedge the ball between the door and the switch. The switch will stay off, your battery will stay charged and your jump leads will stay where they belong — in the boot. If you don't have a tennis ball, substitute any soft-surfaced small object, such as a triangular wedge of scrap wood padded with rags.

  •  Bag a steering wheel

 If you have to park in the sun on a really hot summer's day, tear a 30-cm strip from one side of a large paper bag and slip it over the top of the steering wheel, securing it with a piece of tape if necessary. When you return to the car, the wheel should still be cool enough to touch.

  •  Adjust air temperature with tape

 If you have difficulty keeping your car's heating or air conditioning from blowing directly into your face, cover the part of the air vent that's directed at you with gaffer tape. Just be careful not to cover the entire vent.