Seen at Tour of California: handpainted bikes for a cause

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A race the size of the Amgen Tour of California is always good for a few custom paint jobs, and this year, Diamondback and Rally Cycling have partnered with the United Healthcare Children’s Foundation for a fleet of one-of-a-kind Podium bicycles inspired by the imagination of eight young children.

Hand-painted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, each of the bikes will later be auctioned off to raise funds for the foundation, whose mission is to “provide medical grants to help children gain access to health-related services not covered, or not fully covered, by their family’s commercial health insurance plan.”

At the Women’s Tour of California, we spotted team pursuit Olympic, World Championship and Pan Am medalist Kirsti Lay riding on an exotic purple bike instead of her usual black-and-orange steed. The paintjob, Lay explained, was inspired by seven-year-old Anuhea, whose favorite subject in school is science because “we learn about plants growing.”

“I feel so proud to be chosen to ride one of these bikes. It’s a great cause that makes bike racing more than just about the riders,” commented Lay.

“My paint job is so beautiful and fun and every time I’m suffering out there and look down, I feel motivated to ride well for Anuhea. Kids are fighting for their lives and it really puts things into perspective in a bike race. It’s a great way to give back and makes you want to dig a little deeper out there. I love the bike, and wish I didn’t have to give it up at the end of the race.”

Two-time junior worlds silver medalist Emma White meanwhile is riding a bike called “Sky”, inspired by four-year-old Romie.

To Romie, the sky means both beauty and superpower. “I want to fly, because I want to see everything from above and see everything in the sky like airplanes and birds real close,” Romie said.

“The ‘Sky’ paint job is absolutely beautiful,” said White. “My favorite part is the birds on the rear fork. I feel like I know Romie personally and I am so motivated to ride this bike for her this week.”

When the men’s Amgen Tour of California starts later this week, six additional hand-painted UHCCF frames will be showcased on the California roads.

All of the frames, outfitted with team components, are up for auction between now and May 20, here.

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