My Custom Hello Kitty Beach Cruiser Bike

>> 12 June 2013

When I saw that Nirve manufacturers a licensed "Hello Kitty" bike, I thought I just had to have it.  The thing is, I just love my vintage Huffy "Good Vibrations" beach cruiser that I've had since the 90s and I didn't want to give it up.  What to do? I don't need two bikes. So instead, I modded my old Huffy into my very own custom Hello Kitty bike!

DaBomb's Burning Man bike circa 2003
And then I realized: it wasn't the first time.  Ten years ago I needed a bike for Burning Man.  It was OK if it was a beater because playa conditions can be pretty brutal on a bike, so my neglected old Huffy that was sitting in the garage would be perfect.  A dear friend who was moving way to get married (lucky girl!) offered to teach me how to restore the bike and after we replaced the grease and tires, tweaked the rims, gave it a paint job, the bike morphed from an sad old rusted bike to a sweet little pink and purple glittered ride with a Hello Kitty horn, basket, spoke bling and even a Hello Kitty custom license plate that said "DaBomb".

That bike made it to the Black Rock Desert every year afterwards but after a decade, my Hello Kitty bike needed an update.  So inspired by the Nirve bike, I went down to Valley Bikery, a not-for-profit bicycle co-op near where I live to rebuild the bike once again.  They had all the tools I needed so I didn't have buy any tools for single use. I mean, I rebuild my bike every decade, not every week so I didn't want to invest in tools. After a repainting it, truing the wheels, repacking the bracket and retooling things here and there, I now have a sweet ride with a black and white palette, a reversible basket liner that converts into a shopping tote (made it myself, thank you!) and even an umbrella bracket so I can protect my fair skin when I ride this baby on the beach.

But wait, I wasn't done yet. With some left over Hello Kitty fabric, I decoupaged a bike helmet and the bicycle seat using Outdoor Modpodge!  But even then, I couldn't stop! Since I had stripped the paint off the bike, along with it went the original "Huffy" badge so I picked a repro on eBay.  Oh, and an HK dust mask to protect my precious lungs from smog when commuting in Los Angeles traffic.  All the branded accessories that you see here -- the bell, the valve caps, the chrome HK badge -- I got on eBay except for the tires (oh the tires, aren't they sweet?) which were sourced locally. Oh, and those red rim reflectors?  Those are from Fiks. They're great because they dramatically increase light visibility at night.

On my wish list are a HK cup holder (so I can cruise on back from my coffee klatsch with a cuppa joe), Hello Kitty bicycle pedals, and a HK rear light. And of course, coordinating HK active wear! Hee! >^,_,^<

This bike gets squeals of delight from little girls and smiles from grown women everywhere I go. I mean, it's a total friend-maker. While it's unique, I think the attention getter is that umbrella. Whatever it is, I just say to them as I sail on by "Hello Kitty loves you!"

And she does.


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