Artistic Bikes – Eccentric?


I am very keen on attractive bikes, more so than ‘being attractive on a bike’ as the ‘main focus’,this means that older people can look great on bikes too and we need more older people on bikes. It also reflects artistic talent.

You see lots of ‘attractive women on bikes’ being photographed ‘to encourage women’ but in this country there are few and far between ‘attractive arty bikes’. I hardly ever see any in London. In Holland it is fairly normal ‘and accepted’ that a Dutch woman blings up her bike, even to work, if she wants to, particularly if she has a creative bent. In fact it is good PR for their country and perhaps the company too as it draws attention to it.

I think if there were more arty bikes on our roads, more women would cycle. They would look at their ugly plain car and think, a bike looks beautiful. Unfortunately too many are conformist to even consider doing this. And they may be afraid ‘of the stick’.

In Britain, if you make your bike look pretty, you are regarded as weird and ‘not one of us’ unless you are a greenie or fairly liberal but if say, you have a barge boat along Little Venice, it is accepted to put flowers all over the barge and other things to make it look attractive. It is no wonder arty types flock to Brighton to mix with similar types. They are sick of the endless put downs.

I am stuck in the irritating stockbroker belt part of the UK and it is a little hard to ‘express yourself properly’. Also because of the lack of women cyclist arty types in the area, there is no one you can talk to get some great ideas of how to dress up your bike, so you just end looking up on the internet. I don’t even know if there are any bicycle art bike competitions either which would be fun to enter.

But in the UK, particularly in the conservative parts of silver-&-blue-car-mondeo-country, where ‘everybody wants to look the same’, it is regarded as ‘eccentric’ and just another reason for a woman cyclist to ‘feel alienated in British Society’. We just ‘don’t fit in’. Cycling magazines don’t even talk about arty bikes although London Cyclist is one of the ‘good ones’. Art and bikes apparently ‘doesn’t exist’ in the mainstream cycling world. Apparently we are supposed to all like plain bicycles. When they are done up really well, it really shows the woman’s artistic flair and fun. It gives the bike a bit of personality.

My commuter bike has now been blinged and I think it looks lovely. I am going to risk ‘being different’ and enjoy being ‘an outcast’. Even on my bike ride this morning I can feel ‘daggers towards my bike’ because it is not dull (like it should be). I will let you know if anyone comments but I don’t think many will as ‘Brits like to keep their negative comments to themselves’ or they will find away to make the person to ‘feel humiliated’ with a ‘joke’ which can put people off expressing themselves.

Oh well, at the end of the day I like it, sod what these miserable Brits think!

UPDATE: My boss likes my bike, and she loves the colours. She said ‘did anyone say anything?’ I said ‘no’.

Update: Is it true that in Holland they have Bicycle Flower Rides, using fresh flowers? Fantastic. The UK should have some of those, good or PR too. Maybe the Green Party can organise one just before the Elections much better than Cameron’s silly idea of ‘using his wife’ what about celebrating the beauty of pedal power?

Scottish bicycles could use heather (better than Thistles, Brits roses, and er Wales ‘leeks’. I favour white roses myself.

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7 responses to “Artistic Bikes – Eccentric?

  1. weefoldingbike

    One of the many things I like about bikes is how closely form follows function.

    There isn’t much power available so you have to make the best of it which means extra bits don’t get added.

    I like them as uncluttered as possible and preferably black. When I used to get custom built frames they were black or sometimes had red contrasts. My Bromptons are all black.

  2. Bikes are a natural extension of yourself, if we look at them more as transportation instead of macho techno bling then we can paint, decorate and personalise to our hearts content.
    Rob @ really useful bikes

  3. I think with speed you need a lot less stuff on it anyway. I am going pretty slow on my commuter bike so I suppose I can add lots of clutter. My racing bike is uncluttered because I need that for long distance rides. It would look daft if I had flowers all over that. That one is ‘fairly serious’.

    How many Bromptons have you got? How many do you actually need in black?

    I was in the bike shop today looking for one and the second hand shop said he still hasn’t got any in. I have waited 2 years, it is just a matter of time. I would love a gold one.

  4. Yes, that’s right they are. I was saying that to my colleague today. I really like it how they are ‘personalised’, even with little flags, stickers, unusual handles and interesting paint work. I think I was having problems with the fact that my bike’s colour was plain and
    I am just not a plain type person,my bike wasn’t an extension of myself at all. I now feel a lot happier
    that it is colourful and vibrant. It now reflects my madness.

  5. weefoldingbike

    Three Bromptons.

    2001 M6R I use this one in winter because it has Marathon/Marathon Plus tyres, SON generator, Edelux, B&M TopLicht. It also carries big things because it has a back rack and higher handlebars which will clear bigger stuff on the front luggage system.

    2006 S6L I use this one when there is enough day light for me to not need lights. It has the new BWR hub which is lighter, wider range and better protected against the rain than the old SRAM hub.

    2009 S2L-X For use on days where it’s not raining and the roads are clean. I’ll start using it in mid April. This one doesn’t have a front luggage block. The braze on for the three speed pulley is on the right hand seat stay which annoys me a wee bit but not enough to file it off. It’s lighter than my 1990 531c racing bike and quite nippy. Unlike the racing bike you can get places fast and you don’t need to lug along an Abus lock to use when you get there.

    I’m not sure about the wisdom of getting one second hand. They don’t go down in price all that much. There was a gold plated one on eBay for £1000. It was a prize and the winner sold it right away… much as I would have done.

  6. I didn’t realise that Bromptons can be so different from one another. That’s news to me. Are there any you can get a small tent on? I wonder how much stuff you can pile on a Brompton. I wonder if there are any funny Flickr shots?

  7. weefoldingbike

    If you get the M or P type handlebars you can fit the big touring bag on the front. The big front bag would easily carry my tent and sleeping bag. Brompton’s web page quotes 31 litres.

    http://www.brompton.co.uk/explorer/accessories/index.asp?bp=9

    It would even be possible to bungee my tent across the top of the bag.

    There is a rack bag available for the rear luggage rack but if you put anything on there you need to remove it before you park it whereas the front bag can remain in place.

    http://www.brompton.co.uk/explorer/accessories/index.asp?bp=20

    There is a lot of vibration on the rack because it’s just above a 16″ wheel and isn’t sprung.

    People certainly do go touring on them. One of the advantages is that if you get bored you can fold it and get on a bus or train. In the past it has been common to fit granny rings or Schlumpf drives to extend the range of gears. Since the BWR there is less need for this but it might be worth considering one of the lowered gear options for touring.

    They have a library of pictures:

    http://www.brompton.co.uk/slideshow/photos.asp

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