Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And Finally...Paying Tribute To The Tribute Bikes

While we're on the subject of rolling tributes, I think we'd be remiss if we didn't take some time to honor what is essentially an entire subgenre of bicycle: tribute bikes. If you've ever watched "American Chopper" or any other custom motorcycle fabrication show, you know that this sort of thing is common in the motorcycle world, and it would appear that the cycling community is following suit. As such, I'd like to take a look at some of the most moving tribute bikes out there today. Some I have featured before (as recently as this morning, in fact) and some I am posting for the very first time. But they all share one thing in common: enough emotional wallop to knock you right out of your saddle. Once you've browsed them, cast your vote for which tribute caused you the most tribulation. Then we can tuck the whole ugly subject in and put it to sleep.

Who could forget The Riddle? When I featured this bike in a post awhile back the response was nothing short of incendiary. A folk tale come to life, this is bike is tribute bikes.

Who knows what Candy Cane Bike owner's grandfather did to make his grandson resent him so much. Did he yell at him for getting Frito crumbs on the couch once? Did he bore him with one too many stories about the war? Or did his car just plain smell like old person? Whatever it was, it was enough to inspire this fierce and irreverent anti-tribute to imperialism and war crimes.

USA! USA! If Candy Cane Bike's Grandpa were to ride a bike, this would be it.

This Italian-American steed is a simple but powerful tribute to the immigrant experience--a humble peasant draped in the Stars and Stripes.

Lubing the chain on this tribute gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Brazilian Wax."

There's nothing neutral about this bike--it's pro Swiss, baby! Not only does it sport the flag tape, but it's also chocolate brown, and like the knives for which Switzerland is famous, it's built to do anything. I think I even see a built-in toothpick.

This tribute to iconic 80s comedienne Whoopi Goldberg is nothing short of awesome. I immediately get nostalgic for her many stints hosting "Comic Relief" on HBO. The Robin Williams hairy arm applause-o-meter is going off the charts for this one.


Derisory Velo said...

I want to curl up in a corner and die, is this real? please god, no.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The Pan-African Studies 101 bike wins, hands down.

Anonymous said...

Second is the first loser. But you already knew that.

Stop it.

seventythree said...

I like the swiss bike with it's fake wood finish
the tribute of all tributes goes to The Riddle.

I wonder when it will come out in paperback form?

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say that for sheer garishness, The tribute to Brasil is the winner. But Riddle bike is so complete in its simplicty, and yet counterbalanced by the utter pompacity and bombasity of its design conception. The thing that sealed the deal for my vote was the diatribe that accompanied it.

Everytime I look at Riddle Bike, I feel so worthless and incapable of living up to its standards. I wish Riddle Bike would simply beat me into submission and then make me wallow in a pit of my own filth.

Anonymous said...

In this event, first is the first loser.

foreverever said...

What about the good times bike? Dyn-O-mite!

Rose said...

whats the author of this site ride?

El Diablo Rojo said...


Matt in Seattle
(please remember my new moniker)

Anonymous said...

The Swiss bike is actually quite impressive in its glorious jankiness. Peep the customer cable routing down the fork!


Anonymous said...

Well you did ask which bike is the most moving and the Swiss bike is brown if you catch my drift.

thehat said...

Seas of traffic part for the Riddle.

The most arrogant of roadies dissmount from there carbon and bow to its steal.

Flop 'n choped fixies burst into flames.

Derisory Velo said...

"In this event, first is the first loser."
-I'll try harder next time.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Two wheels, uncut bars, and the truth.


Anonymous said...

"The thing that sealed the deal for my vote was the diatribe that accompanied it."

Ditto. And the year sabbatical.

sh said...

The Riddle all the way!

As anonymous noted, it's not even the bike, it's the dissertation that accompanied it.

But even more, it's the year sabbatical.

And jus’ to wrap my head around it, i have to say it again:
year sabbatical!!!

leroy said...

Oh gosh, it's all so difficult.

All of those bikes are saying to me "it's an honor just to be included in the group of my fellow nominees."

But the Italian-American steed had me thinking more of Bruce Springsteen's "American Land" from the Seeger Sessions album than Led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song."

And now I'm off to brave Times Square, crossroads of the world, where perhaps Candy Cane bike and the USA, USA bike may someday embrace like the sailor and the lady in Eisenstaedt's famous photo of VJ Day in Times Square.

Well, an embrace would be more likely if the USA USA bike didn't have brakes.

Anonymous said...

lame post. quit recycling.

Jim said...


Oh, drat. Just missed out.

I'll be damned. Seeing USA and Immigrant Song next to each other, I realize my earlier Easyriders allusion was prescient. Damned if those two together aren't just about Captain America and the Billy Bike - except for the fact that the most stoned-ass coke dealing hippie biker in all history would never have inflicted tires like that on any two wheeled conveyance.

bikesgonewild said...

...soul searching pompous diatribe...a full years sabbatical...multiple african heritage references...all this & the fact that it IS a lovely bicycle...
...hands down, 'the riddle' & it's 'hair shirt' riding jersey...

...many years ago, i had a dog named "mota" but he wasn't named after 'gianni motta' or his bikes...loved yelling his name throughout the neighborhood trying to get him to respond...woof...

John said...

"This baby is a Pergot that I converted for a bit of FUNNNN!!! It was a road frame that I converted to do fixied geared tricks on like Backspin and Endos. I ride it around the UK everyday yo! Track bikes rule nowdays and all the cool cats are riding them. Peace yall love live fix. Dave."

I was under the impression that the UK had a better education system than the US...

Anonymous said...

"Two wheels, uncut bars, and the truth."

Hot espresso, into my special K, and across the table....


Anonymous said...


The best dog name is "Stain". Now imagine running through your neighborhood calling that dog:

"Come Stain, Come"

BikeSnobNYC said...


I don't think they vet those FGG submissions too closely, so it would appear people occasionally submit joke entries like that one. I was certainly entertained. And even it it's not for real, I still consider it a tribute bike--to comedy.


Anonymous said...

that Whoopi Bike has to be the Fugliest thing I've ever seen. Bloody Wanker.

bikesgonewild said...

...anon are a sick human being...i kinda like like that in a person...

...but my little pal mota's name was perfect for the time & era...woof...

Anonymous said...

Whoopi Bike has a seatstay protector pad. How does such a thing escape notice?

Perhaps it was just pulled from a shipping carton before all the substitute-for-foam-pipe-insulation was removed?

I'm waiting for the red tartan plaid tires from SweetskinZ for my Bay City Rollers tribute bike.

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