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YO: Using bikes to send the world a message


The first time I saw the altered Toyota pick-up truck tailgate, I had to laugh.

You know, the one where the TO and TA are removed, leaving the cheery greeting “YO” for all the world to see.

It still makes me smile whenever I see it.

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with mutilating the names painted or stickered onto bikes to make similarly smile-inducing how-do-you-do’s.

OK, obsessed is a little strong. That makes it sound like I should be committed.

Let’s just say it has become an all-consuming habit that crowds out all other rational thought.

There, that’s better.

Anyway, it started with my own fleet, when I realized I could scratch off the B-I-A-N-C from my Bianchi and say HI to the world.

I also realized I could get in good with the edgy hipster fakenger crowd by doing away with the L and the E-R from my fixed-gear Langster and display my ANGST. (As an added bonus, take off the I-Z-E-D from the Specialized label and it would be my own SPECIAL ANGST).

Now, whenever another bike goes by, my little pea brain tries working out the best possibilities for the two-wheelers leaving me in the dust.

A Schwinn should just WIN.

A Dawes would inspire AWE.

OO, I just saw a Moots.

But I’m not touching the names of some of the bikes made by Kona. How can you improve on the Hei Hei, Jake the Snake, Honky Tonk or Zing? Similarly, Gary Fisher’s Hoo Koo E Koo and Van Dessel’s Hellafaster, Gin and Trombones and Country Road Bob are untouchable.

But I wouldn’t be above making a NAG out of a Colnago.

Or giving my MA a Masi.

My two favorites, though, I thought up on the recent Octoginta.

It wouldn’t take much to make my Cannondale — a bike made of aluminum, the same material that goes into beer cans — into a CAN O ALE.

Drink enough of those, and I could justify taking a Litespeed and using it to tell the world, I PEED.


nobody1793 8 years, 7 months ago

More appropriately, try taking the "Park" off your "Park Tool"...

Liberty275 8 years, 7 months ago

You can deface your bike to say whatever you want, but please keep it on the sidewalk where it belongs. Better yet, stick to the off-road portions of the lawrence bike path.

puppyfeathers 8 years, 7 months ago

um.. It's a well known law that bicycles are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks. Bicyclists pay the same taxes as everyone else for the use and maintenance of roadways.

Kash_Encarri 8 years, 7 months ago

It's a well known MYTH that bicycles are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks.

Fixed that for you puppy. Here is the city ordinance for you - 17-702 RIDING ON SIDEWALKS. It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk within any business district within the City or upon any sidewalk within a distance of 100 feet from any store or business place or place of assembly or where specifically prohibited by posted sign. It shall not be unlawful for police officers or other law enforcement personnel assigned to bicycle patrol units to ride upon sidewalks while in the performance of their official duties. (Ord. 5172, 17-702, Ord. 7557

Now stop yelling at those kids in the neighborhood who ride on the sidewalk.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 7 months ago

I bike and drive. Being a cyclist has made me a better driver after being the near recipient of some driver's inattention. And if I remove the IZED then I'm Special!

iseedumbpeople 8 years, 7 months ago

Liberty275- Funny thing about your comment. Its actually twice as dangerous for a cyclist to be on a sidwalk instead of the road.

"A study of these risks was made in 1994 and showed that sidewalk cycling is almost twice as dangerous as cycling in the street, and cycling against the traffic on the sidewalk is over four times as dangerous as cycling in the street."

Thats from http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

And from personal experience, all the times that I have had a close call has always been when I was riding on a sidewalk. Which is why I don't do it anymore.

8 years, 7 months ago

Bicycles are popping up more frequently on the roadways here in Lawrence. I see more every year. Fact is, folks are trying to save money and getting more health conscious and cycling is a natural result of that. Get used to bikes on the streets AND sidewalks. They're not going anywhere.

puppyfeathers 8 years, 7 months ago


your post bolsters mine.
"It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk within any business district within the City ....." I've received 2 tickets, years apart from each other, for riding on the sidewalk. The 2nd was from a bike cop. I should have known better and my cyclist friends continue to rub it in.
What's so bad about sharing the road anyway?

mom_of_three 8 years, 7 months ago

It's not so bad sharing the road with a bike, if they realize they are small and you are in a bigger car. This morning, I was heading north and turning left across traffic. I happened to look in my side mirror, and saw a bike coming up on my left (and not the right) which was odd, cause he was in the middle of the road, passing stopped cars left and right. I hoped he saw the signal, but was still behind me when I turned. He went straight. Don't know why he was in the middle of the road, but I have cyclists come up on the right on the same road.

parrothead8 8 years, 7 months ago

I put black tape over the I-Z on my Specialized to turn it into a Special Ed.

parrothead8 8 years, 7 months ago

mom_of_three...as a cyclist, I hate cyclists who do what you experienced this morning. They give the rest of us a bad name.

I was brought up to believe that, as a cyclist, I should behave as I would in a car. Stop signs, traffic lights, rights of way all mean something, no matter what vehicle you are in. If I wouldn't do it in a car, I won't do it on my bike. Unfortunately, if we applied this logic to the drivers of some vehicles I encounter on the road, we'd all behave like idiots out there.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 7 months ago

Great blog, lots of fun to read. I think I will start doing that.

hail2oldku 8 years, 7 months ago

puppyfeathers - I'm confused as to how you think Kash's post bolsters your argument. His/her reference to city code spells out exactly where you cannot ride your bike on the sidewalk. That still leaves 70-80% of the town where you CAN ride on the sidewalk. Just because you aren't practicing common sense and receive a ticket doesn't mean it's illegal everywhere.

dumbpeople - nice link. Unfortunately there are enough riders out there that are like mo3 observed who don't heed what appears to be the #1 rule on that site. Obey the traffic laws. Yes, there are plenty of cars that disregard traffic laws as well so let's not get that one started again. The point I'm trying to make is that even if the four (or more) wheeled vehicles are obeying the traffic laws and the cyclist is not, the cyclist is the one that is going to come out as the loser on that gamble. The rider mo3 saw this morning is lucky, she was (I'm assuming) turning correctly and the cyclist either had not caught her or did see her turn signal otherwise he could have added to that 2.7% listed on your link.

parrothead8 8 years, 7 months ago

hail2oldku, the fact that I can't ride my bicycle "upon any sidewalk within any business district within the City or upon any sidewalk within a distance of 100 feet from any store or business place or place of assembly or where specifically prohibited by posted sign" doesn't leave me 70-80% of the town where I can ride my bike on a sidewalk. I'm pretty sure that more than 20-30% of sidewalks in town are "within a distance of 100 feet from any store or business place or place of assembly." And yes, there are plenty of cyclists who do not practice common sense so let's not get started on that one again.

Even if I could ride on any sidewalk I wanted, I would choose not to most of the time because at least 40-50% of the sidewalks that ARE lawful for me to ride upon are in horrible condition...not to mention I would make terrible time getting where I'm going trying to negotiate safely around unsafe obstacles, road crossings, and pedestrians.

It's important for people to consider that most cyclists they see are not just riding aimlessly on the roads because we can't find a lawful sidewalk to ride on. We're trying to get to school, stores, places of business, and places of assembly...places that lawful sidewalks don't go.

Liberty275 8 years, 7 months ago

I don't so much mind people riding around on streets in the city since it may be the only form of transportation they have, and they need to be places. What bothers me are the ones out riding on two-lane highways like 59. When I see them in front of me, I always have to slow way down and will only pass them when the opposing lane is open for me to use all of it. I worry that they may hit a pothole or rock, loose balance and sway towards the 4000 pound machine I'm driving which will more than likely kill them and leave that bit of bad karma in my life.

Maybe I care more about their lives than they do or I should.

As for the guy that thinks riding a bike on a sidewalk is more dangerous than on the road, I can't really think of anything on the sidewalk that will crush your body in half like a car.

parrothead8 8 years, 7 months ago

Until automobile drivers start obeying stop signs and traffic laws, I will have no respect for them. I figure natural selection will take care of it.

tvc 8 years, 7 months ago

The problem is cars turn into you while riding on the sidewalks. It is more dangerous to ride on the sidewalks!!!

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