My girlfriend had a beat up old beach cruiser that she used to ride around the city when she lived in Philadelphia. It was rusty, had a broken pedal, was missing its kickstand, and just needed a lot of TLC. About a year ago, I decided to fix it up and present it to her for her birthday. The results were fairly stunning, considering the shape it was in to begin with. She thought it was a new bike!
This instructable will show you how to tear down an old bicycle, remove the old paint, clean the frame and various components, repaint, and reassemble. It helps to be familiar with how bicycles work, but not entirely necessary. At the very least, you should be "mechanically inclined". If you have an older bicycle, it will be easier to work on.
At any rate, read on to see how I did it.
Note: This is my first instructable. I've been coming here for years for ideas and inspiration. I figured it was about time I contributed. Unfortunately, when I build things, I get so wrapped up in the process that taking pictures is the last thing on my mind. The only reason I took so many pictures of this project was so that I could show my girlfriend that her new bike was, in fact, just her old bike with a fresh coat of paint and a few new parts. In the future, I'll try and take more pictures as I go so that I can share more of my projects.
This is the bicycle I used. It's an old beach cruiser with a one-piece crank and a coaster brake. Bikes with a one-piece crank are easier to work on since the arms the pedals connect to are all one solid piece, as opposed to two separate crank arms that are pressed onto an axle.
At this stage, you should decide on how you want to paint the bike. I ended up settling on a red and white color scheme. You should also take this time to decide which parts you're going to replace. A fresh set of tires and tubes can't hurt, and a new seat can make a world of difference. Also consider replacing the handlebar grips if yours are cracked or dry rotted (or outright missing, as they were in my case). Make a list of what you're going to need.
To make stripping and painting as easy as possible, we're going to remove nearly every component from the frame and clean them thoroughly. Unfortunately, when I did this, I neglected to take enough detail photos, so bear with me and I'll try to explain things as best as I can.