If you live in an area that's even slightly humid, I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration of having various bits and pieces of your bike start to rust. Components usually hold up pretty well, but many other small bike parts, particularly bolts, are prone to rusting; it doesn’t matter if they are stainless steel, either. Sooner or later, these things need to be replaced.
My problem spots have been chain ring bolts, stem bolts, and of particular annoyance, rusted bottle cage bolts. In fact, if left to deteriorate, cage bolts can rust and fuse with the bike’s frame cage holes. Now, should this happen, you’ll be pleased to discover that removing these little suckers can be a real bitch. Their removal can also strip the cage hole on the frame, thus completing your trip up shit’s creek. Should you a) throw your frame in the garbage, b) ride with only one cage (hopefully not the one on the headtube), or c) sell it on eBay or Craig's List with all the other "barely/lightly/gently used" frames?" Well, as I’ve found many times in the past, answers can be had in the roadbikereview.com forums, usually in the General Discussion and Components/Wrenching threads.
I digress…sorry. Exactly where are you supposed to buy replacement bolts and other hard to find small bike parts? I live in a major metropolitan area, San Diego to be exact, so you’d think this would be an easy trick. I recently went hunting for cage bolts, and struck out with all my local bike shops, which then lead to some quality time getting intimately acquainted with the fastener and screw aisle at my local Home Depot. Needless to say, no luck was had at The World’s Largest Home Improvement Specialty Retailer. If you haven’t already gone through this exercise yourself, I’ll spare you the grief and turn you onto a website that must absolutely, positively be bookmarked this instant; it’s an online only, small mom & pop seller called Loose Screws Bicycle Small Parts. Of course, if you’d rather, you could bookmark my site, and find them in my Links section to the left. Whatever works, I’m here to help.
Photo courtesy of Gareth Townsend