For some a new bike is a sacred object. The purchaser will love and cherish his or her new whip by trying to keep the bike looking like it did on the day of purchase - the same way it likely came out of the factory in China. I used to be such a person.
I remember when I bought my Cannondale road bike in 1995. I got it used but the owner kept it in great shape and it looked pretty much like it did the day he purchased it. However, a letter or two on the down tube had been scraped away and I think it said "Can ond le" on one side of the bike. I was so intent on keeping the bike in "factory shape" that I took a paint pen and carefully filled in the missing letters.
Well, commuting in urban environments completely changed me. I have transformed and gone 180 degrees in the opposite direction. When I got my brand new Globe back I saw the shiny frame as a canvas for my personal expression. Yes, part of it has to do with urban camouflage, or uglifying your whip so criminals will hopefully not pay as much attention to it, but I can honestly say that even if I moved to some suburb and had a garage and rode on rural roads I would no longer want keep the factory look. City life has corrupted me and I am forever grateful.
As a reminder, here is what my Globe looked like when I picked it up . . .
I immediately started looking for stickers or other stuff to give the bike some personality. I have never been into naming my bikes, other than calling the bike I ride on a daily basis my "mule." I happened upon some stickers of my own, some tape my wife had used for some projects and a reader by the name of W.T. sent along some reflective material he picked up from a local road sign producer. After round 1 of fun with sticky things this was the result -
The top tube covered with an old inner tube was kind of boring and I stumbled upon my wife's colorful fabric tape which added a bit of pop. Even now it looks a little too standard so I eventually might spice it up a bit.
As far as the reflective material that W.T. sent along, it has up and down sides. The up side is that the stuff is really super reflective, especially the yellow color. Take a look at this night shot:
I used almost all yellow, except for on the top of the fork which is a small piece of white. The yellow really pops. The white is okay but does not have the same retina burning effect. He also sent along orange and red and while they are okay, they a little more dull. I put all three colors on my back fender and the indoor shot without flash and the dark outdoor shot with flash shots show what I am talking about -
The yellow stands out the most, while the orange and red are a little less blinding. All in all though, this stuff is super eye catching.
The only minor downside I have found is that it does not adhere as well as thinner reflective tape does to rounded surfaces. This stuff is a little thicker and is best for say, putting on a flat surface (like a road sign, imagine that!). I tried to wrap my front fork with a strip for example and when I got up the next morning it had pulled away from the rounded portion of the fork. A simple hack might be to put the reflective stuff on and then wrap over the top if it with clear packing tape. Or, simply try to put it on the flat surfaces on your bike and not try to adhere it to rounded surfaces.
Overall I am stoked and might have to track down my local sign maker. Thanks W.T.!
I never had much luck with "old school" bike tube patches. By old school I mean the patch kits that came with a small tube of glue to get the black patches with orange surrounding border to stick. I am a big fan of what I consider to be the new and improved "sticker" patches that you just peel off and apply.
Although I have found the sticker patches to be more effective on bike tires, they would certainly not make the grade in the style department if repurposed as a shoe patch, as demonstrated by reader Zlatan. Have you repurposed bike tire patches? Let us know so we can post!
One of my favorite artists is Invader. If you are not familiar with the art of Invader, it involves tile mosaics of the invaders made famous by the game Space Invaders. On my personal blog (which has received less attention since starting this one) there are bunch of pictures of his art from a trip I made to Paris. Here's an example:
We recently got an email from Earthling Ryan who had his milk crate basket invaded - only these invaders are friendly and offer him protection from the weapon of mass destruction know to Humans as the automobile. Other photos can be found on his Picasa page. Live long and prosper Ryan!