Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Letter

Dear 1960s/1970s Owner of My Bicycle:

Why did you put so much reflective tape on the fenders of your bicycle? I mean, I know why you did it, safety is always important; but you should know that that tape has been fossilizing for forty years now, and is quite impossible to get off. Why didn't you just buy an extra reflector and attach it somewhere else? Maybe on the seat? Why did you cover up what was once a lovely paint job with all that sticky, sticky tape? I mean, there was already a reflector right there, built into the rear fender, and a bright white stripe, so surely you didn't need that much more tape, right? Well, anyway, I just thought you should know.



  1. Been there...done that. I cannot fault the Original Owner. They did what they had to do to be seen. What else can you expect in a country where bicycles are considered toys...


  2. Aaron, yes, I sympathize with him/her/them, too, but I wonder if this tape really made that much difference? Anyway, all in fun anyway, it would be silly to actually be mad at them.

  3. I think it gives it nice character. I've got a Raleigh 3-speed with reflective bike license stickers from several years. I really like them as they remind me of the history of the bike. It also has a sticker from the bike shop that sold it in 1973 or so. More character

  4. @ rigtenzin--I absolutely agree about the license stickers and old bike shop stickers, I love those whenever I see them. But crusty old tape doesn't float my boat in the same way. Also, I probably wouldn't mind so much if the fenders were in decent shape paint-wise and I didn't have to chip that old tape off in order to re-paint them.

  5. License stickers?
    A LICENSE for a BIKE? Surely this is a dog license with the word DOG crossed out and BIKE written in in crayon?

  6. @ R:B--Several California cities, including Davis and Los Angeles, currently require bike licenses, and the practice was much more widespread in the 1960s and 1970s, from what I understand. Nationwide, I believe a number of other cities also require licenses, but I don't believe there is any such requirement at the state level. My Columbia had the partial remnants of what I believe was a reflective registration sticker on the rear fender before I painted it, but it wasn't worth saving.

    I've got mixed feelings about bicycle registration. On the one hand, it's a step toward recognizing the bicycle as transportation, and helps with recovering stolen bicycles, but on the other hand, it smacks of government bureaucracy sticking its money-grubbing hands in where it doesn't need to be.