Bring on the Bicycle Bling
It all started with a bicycle mascot.
I found Ralph in a pet shop, and from the moment I saw him, I knew I had to have him on the handlebars of my mountain bike. Over the years, Ralph and his wonderful ribbit brought smiles and giggles to many hikers (kids loved him) and fellow mountain bikers on the trails. After one too many falls, Ralph’s time as my mascot was done, but he opened my eyes to the playful (and sometimes hilarious) world of bicycle bling.
My bicycle bling repertoire has grown since then, and each bike I own has its own special items. My reasons for adding bling to my bikes (and sometimes myself when I am riding), and encouraging others to do the same, have also developed with five years of teaching bicycle safety and commuter classes.
Overcoming the “Intensity” Barrier
In my adult classes, I often find that a major barrier in Colorado is that people don’t feel comfortable getting on a bike when they don’t look like or have the gear like the more serious bicyclists that they see around them. And so, while so many of us bicyclists enjoy this active and sunny culture of Colorado, we can unintentionally intimidate others by looking and behaving so seriously about it.
My bicycle bling campaign is my own small way to emphasize the playfulness and fun of riding—a joy that I think we all feel and share. So perhaps, if more of us start sporting goofy bling on our bikes, then maybe more people will be reminded that biking can simply be for the fun!
Now let’s go into some specific examples.
The Mountain Bike
I recently found a great deal on a nice mountain bike, but the frame was a somewhat bland black and white with just a few hints of color. Frankly, the frame was too boring for me.
I promptly found an artist on Etsy who makes vinyl stickers for cars and had a flower pattern that also fits on bikes. I was able to pick my flower color of choice (fuchsia to match the accents on my frame) and spent a fun evening decorating the heck out of my mountain bike.
The Road Bike
My road bike is a bit subtler with pink, purple and white tassels flowing out of the bar ends. This simple decoration is both fun and lightweight (not sure how many grams, but can’t be many).
The Commuter Bike
Finally, my crown jewel is my commuter/touring bike. Because weight is not an issue at all (I carry two loaded panniers every day that I commute), this bike was a blank canvas for bicycle bling.
I started with a crocheted top tube cover—both cute and functional as it prevents scratching and sliding when parked on a rack. I then added a few of the vinyl flowers leftover from my mountain bike. Finally, I sometimes carry my buddy Kevin (a stuffed version of the Snipe from the movie “Up”) on top of my rear rack…just for fun!
Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit the bling to your bike—it can also be worn. I tend to wear tutus in organized events and striped or rainbow striped or Wonder Woman knee-high socks (yes, they have capes) as well!
More Bicycle Bling Ideas
When teaching, I often say “bling out your bike—make it an extension of your personality”. How about we all celebrate the fun and joy of bicycling and encourage others to do the same. I could also use some new ideas for class so tell us—what is your bicycle bling of choice?