In late January years ago I visited my friend Molly at her flat in Brooklyn, New York. As we strolled through her neighborhood I noticed that rowhouse after rowhouse was decorated for Valentine’s Day: red electric lights, heart cut-outs in the windows and roses. “It starts at Halloween,” Molly explained, “and then it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, then it keeps going to Valentine’s, St Patrick’s and Easter. It’s a Carroll Gardens tradition.”
While I have always decorated for Christmas, I chuckled at the over-the-top holiday exuberance. But that was before I bought my city bikes. Now it seems I’m weaving streamers and mounting lights on my bikes with every holiday, including pseudo-holidays like Superbowl Sunday. I guess my bikes bring out the kid in me.
The decorations don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but they have to stay on when the bike is moving without endangering the rider. So far I have 100% success in that department, unless you count ripping the crepe paper woven in my spokes when pumping my tires.
While decorating a bike is like a kid’s craft project where almost anything goes, here are my top tips:
- For virtually free decorations, grab images off the internet and scale and print them on card stock.
- If you shop at a party store, set a budget before you go in. It’s easy to overspend.
- If you ride after dark, battery operated lights punch up whatever else you do.
- Zip ties are the #1 way to attach things, but sticky backed Velcro, rubber bands and ordinary tape work too.
If you want the full how-to and great ideas, check out Sophie’s 12 Ways to Gussy Your Bike. Need a reason to decorate after Valentine’s, St Patrick’s and Easter? Cycle SF is having a costume contest on April 28 as part of their organized ride on vehicle-free streets around San Francisco.
What’s the best bike decoration theme you’ve seen? What’s the most innovative or unusual decoration you’ve added to your bike?