Christmas, a time for giving, receiving (our Christmas Store is here), and more importantly for this article, wrapping and unwrapping. Pretty much since the invention of paper people have wrapped gifts for each other – so much so that we don’t really think twice about the effort that’s gone into wrapping something.
A fully wrapped bike isn’t something you see on a daily basis, and quite rightly so as the time it takes might not be justified by some, however, the final outcome will definitely put a smile on the receiver’s face. A few years ago we put together a step-by-step guide to wrapping your own bike – we haven’t tried since, our blisters are still recovering.
Firstly you’ll need wrapping paper, and lots of it. You’ll be mighty disappointed if you run out halfway through only to find that particular wrapping paper pattern had sold out in the shops.
Other items include:
• Sticky tape
• Zip/cable ties
• Cling film (you’ll find out why in a bit)
• Bike stand (not compulsory – a workstand or a couple of chairs will do the trick.
The first step is to start wrapping the large areas of your bike. This will mainly involve covering round or square tubular shapes and so shouldn’t prove too much trouble. Don’t worry if your wrapping isn’t so neat at this stage as you can go back to tidy things up.
Cut slits in the paper when you come across any cables or other fiddly bits. At this stage we’re just covering up the large areas of the bike.
We should say at this point it’s a good idea to use a couple of zip/cable ties to keep the wheels from rotating. This not only helps keep the bike in an upright, stable position, but also once you’ve started wrapping the wheels it will give a more stable base to work with. This also stops the temptation to go for a ride on your partially wrapped bike. This thought will pop into your head on an hourly basis throughout the whole wrapping process but the best thing to do is ignore it.
Another great little trick is to wrap the chain, crankset, rear mech and rear cassette in cling film. Foil should also work. This protects you and the wrapping paper from any unnecessary mess during your wrapping marathon and gives the sticky tape something to hold onto.
Now all the larger areas of the bike are covered by wrapping paper you can start to cover up the gaps with smaller strips.
The easiest way we found to plug the gaps was to roughly tape in small strips of wrapping paper, and then use tape to hug the contours of the area you’re taping.
The slits you cut for the cables can now be neatened up with some tape.
For the rest of the cable we found using a thin strip of paper to wrap round was the most effective way of keeping the shape of the wire and ensuring it’s all covered in ‘festive cheer’.
This is where it begins to get a little tricky. We approached each part in the cockpit individually. Concentrating on a single area helped to keep the shape of each component recognisable and to produce a nice clean look.
We wanted to make sure the devil was in the detail and so extra attention was given to levers and shifters.
There is the option of taking components, wrapping them and then reattaching, however, this will add a significant amount of time to a process which is already very lengthy.
This process can get very fiddly. Using a pair of scissors to smooth down tape as well as using strategic snips allows you to tidy up what could potentially be a messy area.
There is the option to just use one large sheet of wrapping paper to cover this entire area, but once again we made extra special effort to ensure the shape of the components was maintained.
Once all the cockpit is wrapped don’t be tempted to pull the levers and undo all that hard work.
As you start to regain the feeling in the tips of your fingers the saddle offers a fairly simple area to wrap. Start off with a large sheet to wrap round the base of the saddle and tuck the edges under the saddle base to create a neat finish.
There is the option to approach the rear mech and cassette the same way as the cockpit, although the cling film makes this a little more difficult. A simpler method is to approach this area the same way as the saddle using larger sections of paper and taping them secure spoke side to create a neat finish.
It may look like we’re nearly finished at this point but the real ‘fun’/soul destroying part is yet to come, the wheels…
Prep for the wheels is essential and saves a lot of time spent faffing around. You’ll need to cut thin strips of paper (about 2cm in width) for each of the spokes.
Much the same way we did with the cables, securing one end of the paper and using a spiral motion to cover the length works best.
During the wrapping of the spokes you may question what you are doing (as will onlookers of your project), however, it’s worth the perseverance which is evident once completed.
Now you’ve taken care of the spokes it’s time to get wrapping the tyre and rim.
Once you’ve covered the entire rim and tyre the effort put into the spokes will become apparent as it adds to the overall effect.
Again it’s round this point you’ll doubt whether there is any point in continuing. The wrapping of the discs and brakes is rather fiddly, but is worth taking your time over.
We’d definitely recommend a cushion or padding to kneel or sit on during his process. Regular breaks also help you keep focus on the end goal.There’s little chance that you’ll be able to do this in one sitting so be prepared to come back later.
Once all the hub and skewer has been wrapped it’s onto the rear wheel, and the final straight!
With the bike almost looking complete it’s very easy to look for shortcuts, however, if something’s worth doing then surely it’s worth doing right, so we’d recommend fighting the urge to simply use one big piece of paper to mask that final piece of paintwork.
We can’t promise you won’t sustain any injuries from the repetitive nature of wrapping a bike. We found we lost quite a bit of feeling in the ends of our fingers at some points, plus the continual use of a stocky tape dispenser can leave your thumb a little worse for wear…
Tearing off pieces of tape in advance is a pretty standard gift wrapping procedure but definitely helps speed up the process.
…But in the end it will be worth it when you gaze upon your completed project for the first time!
Imagine the delight of coming down to this sight on Christmas morning. Obviously it’s quite apparent that the present is a bike, and it’s probably best to store the bike out of sight until the big day, but we like to think the shock of seeing something like a bike fully wrapped adds to the occasion. That little bit of extra effort and time you’ve put into wrapping makes the whole experience that extra bit special… or so we keep telling ourselves.
So there you have it! One completely wrapped Nukeproof Mega 275 bike. Four rolls of paper, two pairs of scissors, two rolls of tape and three days later we have a finished project. So what do you think of our festive project? A big waste of time or something you’d love to see under your own tree?