Colour Me Bad

Giving me the horn

Honey – I’ve sold the bike …but I’ve gone and bought another one.


There was just something so utterly irresistible about the aesthetics of the bonkers customised multi-coloured Moutlon bicycle. I can’t say whom it was customised for exactly, but now the baton has been handed over to me, and the bicycle is in my hands. I’m half expecting to discover a big bag of weed statched away in the rear saddlebag.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

That’s the beauty of putting some fancy artwork on your F-frame – it’s a genuine DIY ethos, and anything goes. If Damien Hirst can paint butterflies on @lancearmstrong’s Le Tour bike, then a Moulton with fancy paintwork and four horns is all right by me.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

All the better that I managed to bag the bike for a cheeky £63.

“Would you accept a cash offer of £100 to close the sale early?”

I asked the eBay seller, with twenty-four hours of bidding remaining.

“No chance,”

came back the reply.

Donchta just love the Invisible Hand and the free market?

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Riding bicycles should be about fun. You could never be accused of not having a sense of humour, cycling around on a multi-coloured coloured Moulton that looks like a cross between Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Quadrophenia. I don’t know whether I should ride it, or enter the bike in a comedy open mic slot.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger has given it the name of My Big Gay Bike, and with good reason as well. The social history of the machine is that it was previously owned by an incredibly camp old Queen about town.

You don’t say.

If the rainbow mudguards weren’t enough of a giveaway, then the phallic penis colour painted bike pump would have confirmed the campness. Plus I bet underneath all that rainbow symbolism, the original colour of the F frame was probably… pink.


There are some slight mechanicals to be sorted out before the multi-coloured Moulton is road worthy. My man at the Moulton Preservation Society will no doubt be up for the challenge, once he has managed to take the machine seriously.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

I’m not sure if Mr MPS will view the bicycle as a blatant act of sabotage, or something to be celebrated. I know which camp I fall in.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

But when to ride the multi-coloured Moulton? I’m looking forward to showing it off on the school run; I think some of the bike snobs over at le velo might not be so understanding as the kids from SE17.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Hopefully it will prove to be bike thief scum proof. I’ve had a decent run of late. I reckon the parts are actually worth more individually than the overall sum, in a strange, twisted fate of bicycling economics. The saddlebags alone are sold on eBay for around £40.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

The once act of vandalism that I had to undertake was to rip off the floral covers adorning both back and front saddle backs. These were camper than a fortnight away with the Boy’s Brigade in a communal tent down in Brighton.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

And so if you see an exhibitionist bicycling around town on the multi-coloured Moulton, please raise your hand with a welcoming Chapeau!

I think I’ve just blown my bicycling anonymity.

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

Multi-coloured Moulton, 31/07/09

8 thoughts on “Colour Me Bad

  1. That, my dear, is a thing of beauty. Some things inspire love in just the same way as people do.

    I hope you are very happy together.

  2. Just wow!!! Love the Union Jack at the back, very mod-esque. Not quite sure about that pump though…..

  3. Hi Jason,
    Congratulations on aquiring the rainbow Moulton, I was watching it on ebay but thought I’d let it go as I just have too many!…It was painted by Brian Perkins who then sold it to Andrew Beckman he’s had it for some time and we were all surprised he was outing it! It always got a lot of comment at the annual Moulton meet at Bradford on Avon. I’ve even got a photo of Dr Moulton himself astride your bike…

  4. Ah, most useful, Clive – many thanks!

    It’s a great ride. Surprisingly all it needed was a slight tightening of the brakes. The gears are incredibly smooth.

    Certainly a head turner around town.

    I’ll treat it with care.

  5. Hi, rainbow fans. It was Andrew Beckman who had the idea of painting the bike all sorts of colours. He bought the 1963 Moulton from me and was inspired by the canal rose design on the front of headtube, painted by Issy Whitford. This is the one part that you can’t actually see on the photographs! Andrew e-mailed us several times about his ideas and colour choices. He is barking- but in a good way. We called the Moulton “Magenta” when we owned it. It always rode very smoothly.

  6. Hi,

    I’m the loony who did this bike up. Long story.

    At the time I had a job recording sale signs all over Greater London. The leafy hilly suburbs were done driving my van and the congested cramped inner areas were done on one of my two other “preserved” Moultons. It became obvious that I needed a third working bike I could keep in the van permanently as any areas needed me to take the bike with and use part of the time. I put out feelers in the club requiring dynamo lighting and a front rack for two bags to carry stuff in and up came this bike. Although it only had three gears cycling would be done on flat areas predominantly.

    The bike proves to be a fantastic runner and the colour of it was the maroon colour on the only unpainted bit behind the front bag.

    I soon attached the mirrors (VERY FUNCTIONAL) and found matching front and rear lights to place in symetrical positions under the rack.

    The painting idea started with my thinking of replicating the white billiard cue effect on the earliest Moultons on the handlebar and seat stems. Nothing more. I then realised that faint pink might look more aesthetic.Light blue then occured to me then a contrast of one stem in blue and another in greeny yellow which I did.

    Upon doing that the bike looked awful with it’s visual symmetry out of kilter. I then had the idea of painting the lower seat stem a different colour but I had to leave the lower front stem out of respect for the previous owners painted flowers on the from of this. She had christened the bike “Madge” and given its forthcoming transformation that proved rather apt.

    Now I had a problem. Given that the lower front stem was the same colour as the rest of the bike the awfulness of it needed a remedy. I then hit upon painting the whole frame in ten different coloured sections with the billiard cue effect. None of these were to relate to the colours of the rainbow because I soon realised that the mudguards would look out of place and that the logical thing to do with them given their shape was to replicate the rainbow. Nothing gay about that! In fact by now I was thinking “1960’s psychedelic.” When this was done the bike looked fantastic, psychedelic and funny, but I was now caught up in a “what else can I paint and how” mode.

    I might add here that the flowers painted on the front had been irritating me by limiting my scope. Now they became a vital part of my theme as they reflected flower power.

    The stand was painted to replicate the traffic light columns of the 1960,s including the lights while the forks were given a black and white magpie effect. The rest of the frame struts and racks played out contrasting greys. The mirror stems were painted in pink and purple, the only thing I considered gay while the mirrors had eyes painted on them. The horns, four units with 1,2,3 and four horns respectively were each painted in different colours on the inside and outside; 20 different colours while the chain-guard was painted like a predators mouth bearing vicious teeth. I had fund a saddle with some colouring on it which I added to, the handlebar grips had khaki covers put on while the brake and gear cables were each painted in a prime colour. All visible rubber on the suspension was painted in metallic colours and I added the two mud-flaps, a front one with a metallic cross of St George and the rear one with the Union Jack because it was a kitch and 1960’s reminder of the bike being an entirely British success.

    And finally the pump. Yes it just had to be done because of the sight of someone pumping up the tyres. Given the “lip” on the handle and its rigidity and length it just had to be circumcised with slightly contrasting colours to represent what would happen in the event of it being pumped if it really were a penis….. I mean, what else would you do with it?

    Yes the bags were covered in the flower patterned sticky back plastic and yes, I have to say that the current owner has made the bike look ridiculous by removing it as the bags sabotage the overall effect without it.

    Nonetheless the biggest feature on that bike was it’s reliability and service plus the very efficient dynamo.

    Was it gay? Well, it is a Moulton so like all Moultons it was a bisexual bicycle. I guess you could call it gay in all three senses of the word but did it attract attention? Strangely enough it did not even though different people might think it gay in three different senses.

    For me it was a lot of fun painting it and riding it as a work machine in an unusual job that paid well. I thoroughly enjoyed using it once customised yet there was always that slight tinge of sadness at passed times when I was using it for my work in areas like Chelsea and Camden.

    Camp as the bike seems now, I am proud of the fact that I created in it a true reflection of the era it belonged to without compromising it’s function as a tool of Labour so many decades later and for that reason I always felt that me riding it gave me a sense of looking cool rather than sad.

  7. Hi,
    I gave Andy the Iscaselle saddle. He liked pattern and thought it would be a good match for the rest of the bikes decor. Bonkers!
    Nice to see a truly unique machine being appreciated.

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