Custom Bicycles: Personalizing Your Bicycle

Love your bicycle? Want to make yours unique? Read these tips on personalizing your bicycle, from a custom paint job to simple stickers or streamers.

The coolest way to personalize your bicycle is with a custom paint job. If you want a professional job you need to take you bike to a bicycle shop and find someone with experience to paint it for you. Either they will have someone there who can do it or are likely to know someone who can. However, if you have the guts (and / or lack of funds) you can just spray paint your bike yourself. First you need to take off all parts you do not want the new color (seat, tires, etc.) or you can cover up these parts with painter's tape and newspaper. If your bike has a glossy finish you will need to scuff up the surface with sandpaper so the paint will adhere. Now get out the spray paint, shake well, and paint the bike frame in a quick, thin coat. Let dry and repeat on the other side. It's best to switch back and forth between each side of the bike to help cover any drips and prevent obvious paint lines. You can apply more coats as needed but be sure the bike is completely dry between coats. If you want to add details, now is the time to hand paint your personal design. You can use simple acrylic craft paint, which is easily found at any craft store. Then to protect the hand painted designs, apply clear spray paint as a top coat. Choose high gloss if you want a more professional finish.

The easiest way to personalize your bicycle is with stickers. You'd be amazed at how long most stickers adhere to bicycles, even in the rain. That can also be a down side since stickers can be a nightmare to remove. So if you want to apply stickers to your bike but you are concerned you will get tired of them remember this one trick, lighter fluid. It's great for removing stickers or anything sticky like that. First remove as much of the sticker as you can, dab a little lighter fluid on a paper towel or rag, rub the sticky area, and wipe clean. Just be careful to follow all safety instructions written on the lighter fluid container.

Name bicycle license plates are popular. You can find them at any bike shop and even at a lot of general department stores. If you have a fairly common name you should have no trouble finding the right one (Sarah, Jim, etc.). Just screw it onto the back of your bike and you're done.

Streamers are fun. You buy them at a bike shop or general department store. But for truly unique streamers make your own. Buy a package of Christmas tinsel and pull the cardboard topper off. Usually the tinsel is attached together at the top, which is why you shouldn't cut the tinsel off the packaging. Then glue the wad of tinsel to the end of each bike handle. Hot glue is most likely to work, but super glue or tacky craft glue is options as well. If you aren't concerned about weather you can make streamers out of ribbon. Even easier, you can tie a bow of ribbon onto your handlebars. This is a great idea if you are supporting a cause in a bike race. A yellow ribbon shows support for our troops. Investigate what color ribbon represents your cause and display it proudly on your bike.

There's quite an array of custom bicycle parts. A comfortable seat will make your ride more pleasurable while also distinguishing your bike from the rest. Special handles can make your bike more ergonomic, more stylish, or both. You go wild making your wheels fancy. There are unique spokes, special thick tread tires, and even colored tires. Remember, you can never get too creative when it comes to personalizing your bike. It's all about showing your personality and originality. However, be careful to not interfere with the safety of your bike. That needs to be your first priority.

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