Two Wheels Good—Even Better Lettered

Sign painter bicycles around the world lettered to advertise their sign painting services.

A doctor's kit bag painted to advertise a sign painter and mounted to the rack of a bike
'Docteur Lettres' by Hélène Valverde, L N ★ GRAPH / @ln.graphdesign

The picture below, believed to be from the 1910s, is evidence of a longstanding relationship between sign painting and cycling. It shows G. Antonino, with promotional panels on his bike wheels, posing outside his "Alla Lettera" sign shop in Turin, Italy. I'm still trying to find out more about Antonino and his shop at Corso Regina Margherita 143 if anyone can help...

Man posing on a bike advertising his sign painting business, in front of his sign painting shop.
"Alla Lettera" in Turin, c.1910s.

The photo got me thinking about contemporary sign painters and their rides, and soon enough Gibbs Connors (@gibbsconnors) got in touch to share these pictures of his old shop bike. He'd had it since 1984 and it helped him ply his trade in both Philadelphia and New York. It's now been decommissioned, but he's kept the panels, and even used the pattern again on his metal kit box.

Pedal Power

I put the call out for more examples of sign painter bikes, and was not disappointed. Here's a selection of these rides from Canada, France, Netherlands, the UK and USA. I'll happily add more if you send them to me via