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Pimp Your Bike the Japanese Way!

By Adam Marsal

In Japan, some people are obsessed with weird things. Nowhere else in the world but in the Tokyo quarter of Harajuku can be found so many groups dressing like school girls from Manga graphic novel books. And bicycle enthusiasts are just as strange and eccentric over there.

Meet “dekochari”, as they call it here in Japan. The first mention of this form of mobile cycling creativity dates back to the 70s. The term comes from Japanese slang words for decoration (Deko) and bike (chari). The movement has also something to do with a national madness ignited by a series of movies depicting giant trucks covered in chrome, with loads of flashy lights, although the connection stays something of a mystery to us.

The Japanese enhance their machines with precisely cut aluminium sheeting and other features like exceptional lighting systems, giant subwoofers, or multicoloured metal bonnets with wild airbrush motives. In spite of being modified for creative purposes, all the bikes stay rideable, still.

Looking at the marvellous photos, you’re starting to understand that this unusual form of cycling creativity has resulted in bikes that could be taken for a dragon in a silver armour, Salvador Dali’s painting reincarnation on two wheels, a perfect means of transport for your trip into the heart of Tim Burton’s imaginary world, or a two-wheeled low rider ready to act a significant role in the next Snoop Dogg video clip.

The imagination of their creators seems to be boundless. If you’re inspired to go and see all those beautiful bicycles with your very own eyes, go to the Land of the Rising Sun and ask for dekochari gangs, such as the All Japan DC Club Ryumaki, All Japan Hishyomaru Fleet, or the All Japan Kyokugenmaru Gang.