What’s In a Name?

Just another nameless commuter bike…

I’ve never been one to name my bicycles. I certainly don’t see anything wrong with christening a favorite bicycle with an affectionate moniker, but somehow, I’ve always felt too self-conscious to do so. Perhaps my hesitation stems from growing up as a skinny kid in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood where naming a bicycle was sure to draw ridicule from the “tough guys” on the block. Or perhaps it stems from my proclivity to view a bicycle more as a tool, or even an objet d’art, than as a mechanical horse imbued with a personality. In any case, as much as I enjoy my bicycles and truly appreciate them for the mechanical marvels that they are, I’m afraid they’re destined to remain nameless while in my custody. How about you? Do you name your bicycles?

Do you name your bicycles?

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30 Responses to “What’s In a Name?”

  • Rex says:

    Anthropomorphism creeps me out a little bit. My wife and I have a good natured disagreement about this.

  • doug in seattle. says:

    I name my bikes. Here they are, past and present:

    1. The Mouse. Brown 1981 Bianchi Road bike. My first “good” bike, named after Maud Dib.
    2. Mama Bee. Yellow 1992 Bstone RB-1.
    3. Baby Bee. Blue 1989 Bstone MB-4.
    4. Goodtimes. Brown rattlecanned Bstone MB-4. Moved to Seattle on this one.
    5. Red Bear. Red 2006 Jamis Aurora.
    6. Messabout. White and green 1992 MB-3. Has a Cetma and 2 inch tires.
    7. Wenders. Blue 1984 Univega Gran Rally. Because I love wending through the countryside on it.

  • sb mike says:

    I call mine “sweetness”, but if she gives me trouble, the name calling can get pretty ugly.

  • Karen says:

    Rivendell Betty Foy already came with a name,
    Blue Surly LHT is Chuck,
    Blue Centurion Lemans is Cindy,
    Black Trek Soho S is Vader.

  • Janice in GA says:

    I rarely name anything, aside from my dogs. ^_^ Names just don’t stick on objects for me.

    But I know lots of people who name their cars, their harps, their spinning wheels. If it make ‘em happy, more power to them.

  • Alan says:

    @Karen

    Vader. Love it… :-)

  • kevinPDX says:

    I am currently on, “Tank Bike IV”. Forth in a series of MTB bikes.
    kev

  • Jim says:

    I don’t really name my bikes, but I do occasionally refer to my primary ride by a variety of affectionate tongue-in-cheek monikers such as the Batcycle, “my hooptie utility bike”, or “my bastard hybrid” (referring to the slow mutation of my department store mountain bike into a road-going tourer).

  • Carolyn I says:

    I named my Rocky Mountain ‘Pura Vida’ which means pure life. Well suited name for a bike I think!

  • ted says:

    Don’t let the jerks of the past even cross your mind again. My step-dad, Joe WAS Mr tough guy, and he had a nice old 1950 Chevy pickup named Mable. I can’t imagine it any other way! To KevinPDX: How do you think Tank Bike #1 would feel to find out that he was only “one in a series”? Seems a bit insensative. :)

  • Jim says:

    What can you call a Rivendell “A. Homer Hilsen” but “Homey”?

  • Alan says:

    @Jim

    “What can you call a Rivendell “A. Homer Hilsen” but “Homey”?”

    LOL… :-)

    The Rivs are a little different in that they arrive pre-named. The Betty Foy is naturally “Betty”, and the Sam Hillborne has to be “Sam” (though I still say “The Betty”, and “The Sam”).

  • Brad says:

    Ok, I’ll throw down on this one.

    Blue LHT with cello hauling trailer: Cello Bike
    Red Cross Check set up for rando: Sissy (homophone with CC)
    Wife’s Lemond Big Sky: Mr. Bo Jangles
    Big Dummy: The Family Bike, though I’m pushing for Sanford & Son
    Black Biria EZ Loader: The Church Bike
    80’s gigantic Trek Racing bike: Babe (as in Big Blue Ox; 65cm seat tube)
    Burley Tandem with drops in front and porteurs on the back: The Mullet (business in front and party in the back)
    2004 Specialized Langster with aluminum track fork: The Butcher

    My son’s Hot Rock 16 only has the moniker of “The Purple Bike” and more specifically, “My Purple Bike”. I’m working on that one.

  • Herzog says:

    Hell no. But if I had a blog, I would, to make it easier for readers to follow.

  • Mike says:

    I feel obliged to point out that an A. Homer Hilsen could reasonably be given any moniker beginning with the letter “A”. Probably an awkward one would be best, since he seems to have preferred his middle name: Augustus, Abraham, Aloysius…

  • townmouse says:

    Yeah, I don’t give things names but they do get ‘the X’ type monikers. It seems less twee. Our first car was ‘the beast’. My new bike is just ‘the new bike’ although as it’s from Glasgow I should really call it Jimmy

  • j. pierce says:

    Oh, you shouldn’t go anthropomorphizing bikes. They hate that.

  • tweedspeed says:

    It’s sort of a name – I drive my “Truck”.
    A Surly LHT with all but the aforementioned letters removed. With big racks and a load it kinda rolls like a truck – heavy, capable and not fast (but I can floor it in a pinch). There are many like it but this one is mine.

  • Don says:

    In college I found a rusty old balloon-tire special with a squeaky spring seat that my friend christened Constantin, as an homage to Brancusi’s famous sculpture Bird in Flight.

    I think the older a bike is, the more amenable it is to such things. Rather, the more it needs some way to divert attention from its relative crappiness. Same with cars. Naming something new seems a bit precious — I want to say, isn’t it enough that you have this new thing without getting all cutesy?

  • Sharper says:

    I don’t think naming a bike is anthropomorphism so much as just a good way to show appreciation for what the bike represents as well as an easier way to refer to it than “the whatever”, especially when you’ve got more than one bike of a particular style or manufacturer. I don’t usually name a bike, but sometimes you get a name that pops in your head and sticks, like “Sherman” for my mostly bulletproof city/utility converted ’99 Specialized HardRock. Nothing yet for my ’83 Raleigh Competition or my ’70 Raleigh Twenty, but maybe in a few more years…

    My girlfriend, however, goes out of her way to christen her cruisers, like Eloise the early 70s Schwinn Breeze and Ilsa the late 60s Markenrad Welser.

  • Stuart says:

    I was about to post on the same topic as I recently did name a bike.. EcoVelo, always one step ahead of me… I like that she always names her bikes over at Lovely Bicycle! though..

  • Perry says:

    I have never really “named” a bicycle but i do I have a bob jackson I call “bob jackson” and a powdercoated-now-unbranded RB-1 I refer to as “blue bike” but thats as far as it goes.

  • Andrew says:

    I’ve got, uh, “The Jamis,” “the Trek,” and “the Legnano.” Or “the tourer,” “the mountain bike,” or “the road bike” respectively, depending on how abstract I’m feeling. My outside bike has no known provenance, and so it is always “the beater,” or “the winter bike.”

    …so in a word, no. I’ve always felt a bit weird about lending personalities to objects.

  • scherzo says:

    Generally I don’t name bicycles, but once in a while an name occurs to me that I cannot not use. A red road bike that I owned for several years was “The Red Menace.” The HP Velotechnik Grasshopper that I ride now is “Herr Schwer” (translation: “Mr. Heavy”).

  • randomray says:

    How can you not name a bicycle , have you no poetry in your soul ? I have Becky the Bianchi ” 2005 Axis “, Bee AT ‘ triss the Bianchi ” 1983 San Remo ” and The Chick Magnet a 1963 Hercules three speed ” in great shape ” . I didn’t name the Hercules a friend from Australia did and it stuck .

  • kevinPDX says:

    Reply:
    ted says:

    To KevinPDX: How do you think Tank Bike #1 would feel to find out that he was only “one in a series”? Seems a bit insensative. :)

    The first two where borrowed while I was in college, (stolen). #3 is at a good friends garage and #4 is an over the top version of #3. I posted pitures of it here last year? Alan, any help or Should I post new pictures?
    kev

  • saxman says:

    I am building up repainted and decaled Schwinn cruiser frame, opaque (sky) blue w/ all modern alloy components… it shall be my new beachy commuter bike. She shall be named Harriet. Steadfast, deliberate and homespun.

  • davidg says:

    I call my lht “Brother Trucker” or just “the trucker” depending on the conversation. My wife refers to it as simply “brother”. The 1×1 goes by the name o’ Clyde. I had a green fixie for a while I called “The Snot Rocket”.

  • steve says:

    Special bikes rate names.

    My restored ’73 Raleigh Pro is “Wingfoot”

    Colleen’s 28″ custom frame Trek Atwood is “Indigo Blaze”

  • Adrienne says:

    I even name other people’s bicycles : ) When my husband decided to build up a fixed vintage Miata I dubbed it “the Mid-Life Crisis”. When my 80’s Raleigh road bike started to get kinda masculine looking it got named “the Hoff” (as in the line from the Spongebob movie- “I road the Hasselhoff!”)

    I like silly names.

 
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