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Art for Arts Sake: Lowrider Bikes

Most bicycles are dull and boring – they come out of a cookie cutter and they all look the same. Not so the lowrider bike. Once their owners get their hands on them, their lowrider becomes a personalized piece of art.

Custom upholstery, rims, special whitewall tires, and sound systems are common on this mode of transport.

Think I’m talking about a car? No, I’m talking about customized lowrider bicycles – the latest craze sweeping the urban areas of the country.

A lowrider bike is not about biking, although they do get ridden up and down neighborhood streets, or perhaps on the beach, to show off the “pimped up” ride, but mostly they are about viewing.

People have put steering wheels on their bikes, neon, handpainted murals, and even hydraulics. What are “hydraulics”? You might be asking yourself. That’s a fancy name for brakes powered by liquid. (Hydro means water in Greek.) The imagination is the limit when it comes to designing a lowrider bike.

You can get a plain old lowrider bike of course – simply a bike with a low, comfortable seat, usually a banana seat, the pedals set further forward then normal so it’s almost like you’re pedaling while sitting down, and high, swept up handlebars called apehangers.

But what’s the point of getting a lowrider without accessorising it? (I prefer the term accessorizing to “pimping,” personally, although “pimping” is what all the “young studs” call it.)

It’s quite easy to get carried away, and more is not necessarily better, although some lowrider artists seem to think so. Two mirrors on each side, two horns, a spare tire mounted on the rear..it can be a bit much (although you can’t tell them that!)

So before you start fitting out your lowrider, think for a while about what you want it to look like. Are you a talented artist? Then purchase some paint made specifically for bikes and give it a unique mural. Match the rest of the accessories to the mural. If it’s of a series of volcanos, get red upholstery and red rims, for example. If you’ve got any mechanical talent at all you can “distress” various of the parts to give it a unique look.

Most of all, you’ve simply got to join a lowrider club in your area, because most of the fun in having these types of bikes is to show them off to your friends. Lots of clubs have competitions and give prizes for the best-looking or most outrageous-looking bikes.

Surf the web for online stores that offer lowrider accessories, so you’ll know what all is out there. Then, let your imagination run wild!

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