From swan to ugly duckling

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Nice bike with a  few rough edges

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Take a nice bike and rough it up a little. Might deter another theft.

“I have already had three or four bikes stolen. The last time I bought a bike was with my father. He told me it was too nice and it would be stolen, so he did this to my bike.”

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bike hidden underneath tape and clutter

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Tape across the frame, hiding the brand-name, dirtying the frame, all min an effort to disguise to from the unwanted.

Photographer’s notes: Not that easy to see, but the father had scraped off paint, added stickers, placed tape over key parts, all in an effort to decrease the visual encouragement of the bike. In short, it is a swan made into an ugly duckling.

I remember living in London in the UK in the 1980s. Many of the city messenger riders would put electrical tape all over their bike frames in an effort to hide the brand name, make the bike seem less than what it was. After all, theft in the 1980s was terrible – today it is horrific. Personally, I always liked the look. It was the era of Mad Max, and the underground nature of taping your bike was immensely appealing.

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