30 March 2010

Cycle Chic Guide #9 Personalising Your Bicycle

Full On Copenhagen Style
Springtime is upon us. Freed from winter clothes, accessories get to shine. Here in Copenhagen, our bicycles are just tools that we use to get around. We don't give them names or fetishize about them, we just use them. However, if you going to spend half your life on your bicycle, you may as well personalise it a bit. We see the bicycle, above, quite often around Copenhagen and it is the ultimate personalised example. Simply gorgeous.

I suppose this isn't really a How To Guide but more of a source of inspiration from the cyclists of Copenhagen to you. With love.

There are different reasons to personalise your bike. To make it look a bit nicer, to make it match your personal style, to hide the rust, to make it less attractive to thieves. Whatever the case, the sky is the limit and only you can make it your own. In Cycle Chic Guide #8 we covered funky bike seats, so we'll leave them out here.

Off we go then. We'll start with a timeless classic:

Flowers on Baskets and Other Bits of Bicycle
Almost Spring Says the Optimist
Flowers on baskets are almost as old as the bicycle. After the invention around the 1880's of the Safety Bicycle - the design we know today that liberated women and the working classes and provided homo sapiens with the fastest and most effective urban mobility boom in history - baskets were among the first bicycle accessories to appear. Women carried baskets already and it wasn't a quantum leap to start putting them onto the handlebars. Later came back racks and pannier bags but baskets were first.

It's difficult to pin down when women started decorating their baskets with flowers but by all accounts we're still in the late 1800's. I adore the fact that this most simple and elegant personalising detail lives on even today. Many flowers are plastic but here in the spring I've seen several examples of real flowers or pussy willows branches adorning baskets.

Bike Boat Flower Box Decorative Cycle Chic for Kids Personalised Bikeness Flowery
You're not restricted to the baskets, of course. The back rack is just as suitable, as well as the steering rod and the rest of the bike. And flora on baskets is not a seasonal issue. In the autumn, why not decorate the basket with leaves like our friend, Klara, with her lovely pink bicycle?
personal style Bike Rack Flora

Painting The Frame or Stickering It
Kazi Kazi
The whole damn bicycle is personalisable. Is that a word? Who cares. Armed with stickers, paint or even tinsel, you can go crazy.

Christiania Sticker Cargo Susanne's Bicycle
A classic Christiania bike stickered ad libitum and a hand-painted bicycle belonging to a girl named Susanne, apparently.
Personlise Tilda's Cykel Passion Amour Desir
Paint zebra stripes on your fenders, let the world know that it's your bicycle (in the middle photo Tilda has written "Tilda's Bicycle" on the frame) or get creative with stickers, like in the last photo on Marie's bicycle. She used kitchen labels and some other stickers on her frame.

Bicycle Bells and Horns
Teapot Bike Bell
Bells are another way to leave your mark on your bicycle. Bells are required by law in Denmark, so you have every reason to get one. Like this teapot bike bell, above.

Copenhagen Bike Bell Teapot Bike Bell
Coffee, tea or me, baby?
Gorgeous Bikealiciousness Argh
Stockholm Cycle Chic13 Ding
Ding Squawk Bicycle Bell Thing
Husqvarna Bell Old Bell
There are loads of bells out there but there are also squeaky toys and horns. These are all adult bicycles, by the way. You can also go old school with a vintage bell like the old Husqvarna one at bottom left or the lovely, rusty one on the bottom right.

Decorating Your Skirtguard
Dont Steal This Bike Don't Steal Me

Decorating your skirtguard is an obvious choice. It's like a canvas waiting for an artist. In the Cycle Chic #4 we covered Do It Yourself Skirtguards, but here are a couple of amusing examples from the streets of Copenhagen. On the skirtguard to the left the owner has highlighted the hi-tech features on the bicycle; Fingerprint reader, Theftproof, GPS Monitoring, Neighbourhood Watch.
On the bicycle to the right it reads, "Next time, don't touch my bike. If you do, do it nicely. Thank you."

Decorating Your Chainguard
Personalised Chain Guard Swedish Bike Beauty
Chainguard decoration is one area of bicycle personalisation that it often overlooked. Putting funky fabric on is one way to do it, but you could also paint it wild. Chainguards used to be gorgeous back in the day, like the vintage Hermes bicycle and brand chainguard to the right. Sweet.

Baskets for Animal Transport
Animal Ride Shopping Basket Dog
You need a basket for your dog. Nick a shopping basket from a supermarket or dig up a cool, old wooden crate.

Trashing Your Bicycle - Quite Literally
Use Your Bike Or Others Will Use it For You Rolling Bikes Gather No Trash
Of course, if you don't personalise your bicycle, and leave it too long without using it, your fellow citizens will personalise it for you. At no extra cost. Rolling bicycles gather no trash, as the old saying goes.

Homemade Advert
Here's a unique way to personalise your bike for a practical purpose. This bike basket is covered with plastic-covered sheets advertising various pieces of furniture for sale.

Go Hard or Go Home
Swedish Bike Beauty
We started this post with a timeless elegant classic and we'll wrap up with a funkalicious example of personalising your bicycle. Spotted in Malmø, Sweden, just across the bridge from Copenhagen. Plastic grass beneath your ass, funky painted bell, colourful tape on the handlebars, you name it. Go hard or go home.

Frame Stickers Official Cycle Chic Frame Stickers Style Over Speed 2 Frame Stickers Style Over Speed Frame Stickers Approved by Cycle Chic
Alternatively, you're always welcome to visit the Cycle Chic Online Boutique at CafePress.com where various items, including our ever-popular bicycle frame stickers are on offer.
Cycle Chic Frame Stickers for Your Bicycle


Anonymous said...

really sweet post! thanks!

Roni Faida said...

I love these pics! Here is Charlotte almost no one rides a bike, let alone stylish ones like these. Thanks so much for sharing!

Sonja said...

I love your pics and if I would have a saddle with a grass bolster maybe my buns would not get sore!

Oldfool said...

This is great stuff. There is an inner artist in all of us. I am considered strange here for sporting a rear view mirror and a brass bell or red socks. Not that it bothers me.

Weaving my Life said...

I love the top photograph! I am inspired to customize my Mom's old Raleigh.

Anonymous said...

RE: Bells

Don't ring it at Cats crossing the street. I did today and the Cat froze and stared at me!

(I think it thought the sound was a chew-toy or something.. :))

MELI. said...

as if you never left the park, grass for your happy ass.
because riding is as easy as a stroll in the park. and that comes from an SF rider. the hill-iest place on earth.
get out and ride baby!! :D

Pensando la Bronca said...

me gustan las fotos de los perros!!!

Slow Factory said...

Nice stuff. But hey, if the rod of a gentleman was decorated, one would only be able to see it if he was riding naked.

Anonymous said...

Hi!! Really made me happy to se my bike in this cool page!


Colville-Andersen said...

that's so cool, Tilda! I took that photo a couple of years ago! Wonderful.

hydroju said...

Speaking of customizing bikes, you should check this, bike scraper guys!