The Little Bellas live close to our hearts here at Specialized, and we’ve spent the last six years supporting their goal of “mentoring on mountain bikes.” This year, we’re launching a limited edition Little Bellas Pitch mountain bicycle, with a special graphics package that will help each girl make it her own.
If you’ve ever been out on the trail and crossed paths with a local chapter of the Little Bellas, you’ve probably had the same reaction as many of us here at Specialized. Upon passing this little pack of shredders, you’ll cheer “Yeah! Little Bellas!” or “Girls Rule!” and feel an overwhelming sense of hope for the future. Their enthusiasm is evident, and their sense of fun and adventure so infectious you can’t help but wonder: “Am I too old to be a Bella?”* (Answer is no: see below)
For the past six years, the Little Bellas' “mentoring on mountain bikes” philosophy and program has been proudly supported by Specialized. Started by the Davison sisters, Lea and Sabra, back in the summer of 2007, the organization has continued to grow, blossoming from one chapter in the sisters' home state of Vermont, to 15 chapters nationwide. This year, in collaboration with Sabra Davison, the Executive Director of the program, we’re launching a very special bike to take the stoke even higher—the limited edition Little Bellas Pitch mountain bike. To celebrate the launch of this project, a portion of sales goes back to the organization, giving you another way to continue to grow and empower the next generation of riders.
More than just a special colorway, Specialized Graphic Designer Kayla Clarot found a way to give girls an opportunity to really make it their own. Coming in one gloriously savage Satin Gloss Chambray Blue, as a nod back to Little Bellas branding, the bike also comes with a sticker pack filled with girl-power words that Little Bellas can apply anywhere on the bike. Prior to the official launch of the bike, we invited Sabra and the local Salinas chapter to Specialized HQ to get a sneak peek at the bike, blow their hair back in the Win Tunnel, and meet the designer who conspired to make this bike as feisty as the Bellas themselves.
Kayla Clarot, Graphic Designer
I really wanted the bike to have a piece of ‘I can and I will!’ attitude. I wanted the girls to be able to look at their bike and always feel empowered by their ability to push themselves when they are outside riding.
The inspiration for the sticker pack, and the words themselves, also came from a sense of wanting to surround the girls with positive words and give them a canvas to put them on. “I really wanted the stickers to have a little bit of attitude to them, but at the same time feel like they were custom made just for these girls,” she continued. “A mix of encouraging phrases, pieces from nature, and cool little illustrations. I think my favorite part of the sticker kit is the alphabet. I love the idea of the girls putting their signature on the bike after they’ve finished putting the stickers on.”
The reaction when the bike was unveiled to the girls at HQ was at first polite curiousness, and it wasn’t until they found out they could literally put the stickers anywhere they wanted that the girls came to life. Through giggles and whispers, they worked to find spots to put the foil decals, smoothing them out until they were perfect.
“The Salinas chapter melted my heart,” said Kayla. “All of their little faces were so stoked when they got the chance to cover the bike in stickers, and they did an awesome job. Seeing firsthand what stickers they gravitated towards and where they put them was exactly what I wanted out of the sticker kit. The moment that stands out to me the most is when one of the little girls in the back, who was super shy, couldn’t decide where she wanted to put her sticker and she asked me to help her pick what spot she liked best. Helping her talk through where her little sticker was going to go made me see how important even the simplest interactions are to these young girls. Even if it’s just putting a sticker on a bike, it helps those girls know that their opinion and creativity matters.”
When asked “How do you like the color?” the girls responded with excited enthusiasm. The Chambray Blue was perhaps the hardest color to nail down during the process, and Kayla worked extensively with Sabra Davison to get it right.
“We knew that we wanted it to be blue pretty quickly—mostly because it’s a color most girls can get on board with—but finding the right blue took some time. Color can create an emotional connection, so I knew this bike needed to be beautiful, but also full of energy. We ended up landing on a blue that was very close to the Little Bellas' Chambray Blue, but in certain lights, has a subtle purple hue. I wanted this bike to feel like the colors came from the earth, beautiful and vibrant, and also natural. I think using the Gold Foil and the rich Chambray Blue play off each other like the way the sky and mountains often do.”
After the big reveal of the bike, the Little Bellas Salinas chapter was treated to a tour of HQ, which included time in the Win Tunnel for both girls and parents, and the opportunity to Bella-fy the Specialized pump track with chalk as a surprise for unsuspecting pump track regulars. Girl-strong energy flooded the mothership for an afternoon, and as the Bellas painted musette bags and shared their fun and energy with everyone who attended, the unveiling day and tour was in two words, Pitch Perfect.
* You’re never too old to play a role in Little Bellas. To learn more about their programs, how to donate, become a mentor, or even explore starting a chapter of your own in your area, please visit littlebellas.com.