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inspiration: yellow bikes

November 30, 2010

{Image: Anna Amphigorously}

Even before I got Bee, I started developing a crush on yellow bikes. They’re just so happy and cheerful and fun. Bee’s paint job leaves something to be desired. After thirty or so years of wear and tear, it’s got quite a few scratches and nicks. My long term project for Bee is to remove the decals and give her a shiny new coat of yellow. (I plan on getting after-market decals with the same Peugeot logo to reapply afterwards). But this is far far down the road, since it’s not exactly an urgent matter.

Meanwhile, here are some other cyclists who share my love of yellow bikes…

{Image: Anna Amphigorously}

Foux du fa fa {Image: Elinor Zach}

Happy Days {Image: Chloe Elise}


Does color factor into your decision when purchasing a bike? Bikes are tricky like that – they are both objects of function and – for some like myself –  style accessories. I  would not allow color to influence my choice of running shoe (I would choose the ones with the best support for my feet and my running needs) but I would certainly consider color when buying any other of the myriad of items accompanying me on a daily basis, like my clothes, purse, shoes, etc.


So where does a bike fit into that? How much does bike color factor into your bike purchasing decision?

22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2010 03:32

    color matters when i choose the bike i want!

  2. November 30, 2010 03:39

    Scratches and nicks are just character. :)

    Color definitely plays a part for me. I love the blue of my Betty Foy, but I really wanted a classic black – that matches everything – for my main bike.

  3. November 30, 2010 03:58

    Oh yes, color matters! Love blue…my electra cruise and my trek are almost the same color. I will have to post pics one day. Also, my pashley (haven’t ridden it yet) is black – I figured it matched my car! The yellow bikes look very cheerful!

  4. November 30, 2010 06:12

    Definately ! I find it a major stumbling block. Except for vintage and traditional European styles, so few step-throughs are available in black or other dark colours these days– so many are pastels and brights, which just aren’t “me”.

    And because I don’t think I’ve commented here before: I’m very much enjoying your blog! Lovely tales and photos. An example for us all.

  5. November 30, 2010 12:13

    Nice images!
    To me, color is not that important on a bike. I don’t choose by color, but I might refuse the bike if the color was very ugly… (I know, I don’t express myself very well in English, sorry).

  6. November 30, 2010 12:32

    Whenever I talk about the looks of a bike – especially colour – there is always someone disparaging who says it is stupid to care about such a superficial feature. But I disagree. Colour is a huge part of how we perceive an object and how we feel about it. And it is important that the colours of the things we keep close make us feel good: our walls, our clothing, and yes, our bicycles.

    I think yellow bikes look amazing in the fog, as in the pictures you’ve posted. What a beautiful mood.

  7. November 30, 2010 13:32

    Wow, I’m impressed by all the votes in favor of color, I’m kind of happy to read that. While I may not turn a good bike away because of its color, I think color does play a role in how much I like a bike I’m riding. Because none of my bikes came new, I never had much of a say in choosing my preferred bike in a preferred color, but I have said no to bikes because they just didn’t look aesthetically pleasing enough.

  8. November 30, 2010 14:12

    Where do you get the decals?

    • November 30, 2010 16:57

      I’m actually not sure, but my husband’s family is into restoring old British MGs (vintage cars) and they often get after market decals to reapply after a new paint job on the car. My husband thinks the same should go for bike decals from Peugeot or Raleigh. I would guess that one might find some on eBay?

      I haven’t done a search for any yet but I’m fairly certain one could find those just based on the MG experiences of my in-laws (and the MG factory in England closed in the 80s or late 70s, so it’s not like they’re still active and making them now). An internet search would be my starting point.


      • November 30, 2010 17:15

        I haven’t looked into specifics either, but I’ve heard you can get them as well. Let me know if you find them, as I may be in need of some Raleigh ones :D

      • November 30, 2010 18:11

        Yes, let me know also if you do find them as I would love to repaint my Raleigh Sprite. I know someone who can do a lovely painting job on my Olivia but I would like to get her decals. Thanks! Lovely pictures. When I got Olivia, the guy threw in a yellow road bike for free (in very poor shape.) My brother has restored it to his former glory. We still do not know the make.

  9. November 30, 2010 16:28

    Well, running shoes are sporting equipment, your bicycles for daily transportation are not. People choose colors when buying a car as well, I don’t think it’s unusual to want your means of transportation to look nice, fit your own personal aesthetic, etc. As Velouria mentioned, the aesthetic of an object goes a long way towards determining how we perceive it, use it, react to it, etc.

    Yellow is a great choice, by the way. We have that yellow Schwinn in the first photo (it’s actually a friend’s, but we’re keeping it for her temporarily), and I’ve always liked how bright and cheery it is. Just need to get the 3-speed hub working properly :)

    • November 30, 2010 16:58

      Sounds fun, I’ve love to see some pictures if you or Trina take it out for a spin!

  10. November 30, 2010 18:14

    another question. Would regular 26″ tires fit my Raleigh Sprite’s English made wheels?

    • December 1, 2010 17:39

      I think you can put any size tires on any bike. The problem will lie with the brakes. Putting a different size tire on a bike will affect how the brakes reach the tires, they may not reach the new tires and you may need new brake calipers. This is what happened with my Raleigh Grand Prix (my road bike) with the new wheels and tires, I had to add new brake calipers to read the smaller tires put on the bike. So I think you can make any tire change you want, you just need to consider the possible additional expense of new brake calipers. S.

      • December 2, 2010 00:46

        I’m by no means an expert, but I think the width of the rim/tire is significant too – that is, you can’t put a roadbike tire on a city bike rim, as the rim will be too wide to hold the bead of the tire – also you couldn’t fit a city bike tire on a road bike rim, as you couldn’t stuff the tire in enough. There is probably some leeway there in terms of how they will fit, but I think tire widths generally match rim widths in some way – I’m pretty sure I remember Sheldon Brown having an article on this (no big surprise).

    • Tinker permalink
      December 9, 2010 13:37

      You have to buy a specific size tire for Raleigh’s medium weight bicycles. Most 26″ tires are for Mountain bikes, cruisers and Utility bikes. Be aware that a fractional size like 26 x 1 3/8 is not the same as 26 x 1.375, even though it is the same mathematically. But the ‘English 3spd’ tires are common enough that I was able to buy them off the shelf at Wal-mart. But NOT tubes…

      There is an entire system of tire descriptions and sizes, ETRTO, and ISO standard designations, and almost every country has different standards for old bikes than the newer ones. And as you are buying new tires, FIND THE SPECIFICATION in ETRTO/ISO STANDARDS. Most bikes that have good tires NOW are modern enough to bear the new Spec on the sidewall. Write down Everything EXACTLY, and take it to the local BIKE SHOP. If you just go in and say you want 26″ tires the man behind the counter may simply burst into tears (as there are 6 tires in the US alone that are ’26 inch’), or worse yet, hand you two incompatible MTB tires. These will NOT FIT. If you are repairing and putting an original Raleigh on the road today, the tire will have rotted, and will be unsafe, even if they hold air. Get new ones!

      It is certainly true that you can replace the wheels with almost any compatible rims, and use the tires sized for the new rims without problems. But compatible rims opens up a new level of complexity, so see a local bike shop, or an on-line information/repair site (Harris Bicycles comes to mind). (If you wish to replace your rims, and there are SEVERAL GOOD reasons to do so, be sure you know what you want and make sure you get what you need/expect.) Raleighs were advertised as All Steel bicycles, and in that description lies a good amount of marketing (such as the attempt to make the purchaser believe that STEEL was the best choice for the frame and parts of the bike, which ain’t necessarily so) and in other matters they replaced bits and pieces that used to be made of steel with plastic (had a problem shifting a Raleigh 3speed? The pulley fulcrum wheel is commonly plastic, and after 30 years or so it just crumbles. They DO sell replacement metal wheels.) One of the parts that they made out of steel, that you DO NOT WANT to be made out of steel, is the WHEEL! Why? Steel gets wet, and rusts. Not only that, but steel weighs more than aluminum. Aluminum does not rust, and furthermore it is better for BRAKING. If you ride a Raleigh in the rain, for all the braking you get, you may NEED to just plant your feet, and ‘Flintstone’ your bike to a stop. This is bad. If you change out the rims/tires, you can replace them with aluminum rims, with Stainless spokes, and a Shimano three-speed rear axle. Yes, I am a heartless philistine, with no soul. I will replace a Proper English Raleigh 3 speed hub with a Shimano in a New York minute. Another factor to consider: Not all rims have the same size holes for the stems. (Two common sizes, Schrader [or Schraeder] and Presta. The common car tire and most fatter bike tires use Schrader valves,Raleighs in particular use a British standard compatible with Schrader valves [Dunlop?] , and most SKINNY tires use Presta.)

      I bought a retina searing Acid-green bicycle to replace my early raleigh (black, gold pinstriping). Even granny can’t claim to have missed seeing this bike!

  11. November 30, 2010 23:46

    I ended up with black as a default color but I loved all the images of the yellow bike. If I could I’d have a bike in salmon. :)

  12. December 1, 2010 20:16

    I love all of the yellow bike images! I didn’t think that color mattered to me, but it ended up being a huge factor.

  13. DedHed permalink
    December 1, 2010 23:50

    Many decals are available. You can try velocal

    I’ve also heard good results from JR Restore

    Also look at Classic Rendezvous’ resources and scroll down to decals.

    For some you can find NOS on Ebay – It’s where I found them for the Schwinn Sprint I did last winter.

    Once I make a decision on what color to powdercoat this winter’s Trek project I’ll be trying one of these resources for new decals to complete that project.

    Sorry, but I can probably say it won’t be yellow.

    Having installed waterslide decals on the Schwinn I can say it’s not as easy as it looks. Trying to measure, mark and not rip the fragile decal is tedious. You also have to take careful measurements BEFORE you destroy the old ones. Of course that’s only if your worried about perfection, unlike my “close enough to look good” attitude.
    You also need to clear coat over them if you want them to have any durability.


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