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Five ways to recycle your old bike

The Dutch are renowned for cycling everywhere. As a result, there are more than 22.5 million bicycles on the streets of the Netherlands. Such transport is good for health and the environment – but what do you do when your bike is ready to be scrapped?

Bicycles are commonly recycled and e-bike batteries collected for recycling in the country last year totalled 4 900 tonnes. Renting bikes has also become a popular solution for the many tourists and expats visiting Amsterdam and other holiday destinations. The recycling sector has some do-it-yourself tips for the end-of-life bike:

Rims to table top 

Convert your wheels into a unique piece of furniture. First, line up a wooden plank with the rim laid on top of it. Trace the outline to get the right shape and cut it out with a jig saw. You can also incorporate the spokes. Finish the top by sanding it well, painting it and applying a good sealant. The rim forms a natural and smooth edge for the table.

Let there be light

You can also transform the wheel by cutting out the spokes with bolt cutters and sanding the frame with steel wool. Doing so will make it shine like new. Visit your local hardware store to find a good length of rope or chain and collect other parts needed to create a rustic-looking light. This item will give your ceiling a whole new vibe.  


Don’t throw away those old gears. Saw through them with a hacksaw, polish the sprockets to a shiny finish and make round holes with a cordless drill and hole saw. Note the required 90 degree angle. Mount a ring on a piece of wood to act as a handle and, voila, you have created a range of bottle openers.

All that sparkles

Clean the bicycle chain carefully with degreaser to turn it into accessories or home decor. Cut the chain into sections and assemble them with solder into different shapes, such as a Christmas tree, miniature statues or to add to key rings. You can also use bicycle scrap to give your home office or gym that industrial chic look.

Hallway handlebars

A well-known example of recycled handlebars is in the work of art ‘Tête de Taureau’ (bull’s head) by Pablo Picasso from 1943. Want to try your luck? Dismantle the handlebars and mount them on a sturdy piece of wood on the wall to become a novel coat rack.

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