Thursday, November 11, 2010

bicycle naming conventions

So you have a new bicycle and are wondering what to call it? Or if you should call it anything at all? Some have said that to avoid the inevitable loss that accompanies a destroyed or stolen bicycle, you should refrain from loving the bike, just love the ride. I am not of this opinion and so I offer here some "guidelines" on how to name your bicycle.
  1. Ignore all conventions including these. It's your bike. Name it what you like :-)
  2. Follow convention 1.
  3. A bicycle is not a ship, you do not need to name it by conventions for naming a ship.
  4. Choose a name that somehow suits the bicycle's character.
  5. Have a theme that you can carry through all of your bicycles from the time you are born to the time you die. For instance, mythological creatures, birds, insects, cartoon characters... just don't name them after cats or Apple may sue you.
  6. Bicycles can be masculine or feminine. Look at the bike, ride it a bit. You can tell its gender if you listen carefully.
  7. Take your time in naming your bicycle. The name is important.
  8. When you are happy with your bicycle's name, head down to the newsagent and see if they have some Letraset transfers so that you can embellish your machine's top tube. Alternatively, a professionally made sticker, although expensive, can look terrific.
Here are some examples from personal experience. I have thus far named only a few of my bicycles:
  • Reynolds 531c, custom road racing bicycle built by Doug Gould: Bandersnatch
This is a name taken from Lewis Carroll's poems and "Through the Looking Glass". Says the White King, "She runs so fearfully quick. You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch!"
  • Reynolds 853, custom road racing bicycle built by Kevin Wigham/Paconi (bright yellow and black): Wasp
The bike really is very black and yellow. A wasp was an obvious choice being a powerful insect with a nasty sting in the tail.
  • Columbus EL Oversize, custom track racing bicycle built by Kevin Wigham/Paconi (deep metallic red): Vampire
A fascination with all things macabre, the rich paintwork, a jersey worn by Russell Mockridge and my plan to suck the wheels of the big guys before finishing them off on the line inspired this name.
  • Pinarello, mass-produced carbon road bike (red, white and carbon): ???!
This bike, despite two years of consistent riding, still doesn't have a name. It is as bright as a fire engine, fast as a Ferrari, muscular as Mr. Universe and curvaceous as... well, you have the idea! :-) My wife has suggested "Maximilliano" but it doesn't quite ring true. I like the Roman approach though. Maybe "Lucilia" is better? Lucilia was the wife of Lucretius (the Roman philosopher). Apparently she gave her husband a love potion so powerful it destroyed him. Given the number of k's I have ridden on the Pinarello I suspect something similar has been slipped into my bidon!

Good luck in naming your bicycle, happy riding.