Cycling - LA style

Ride in style on a custom-made lowrider bicycle.

COMPTON, CALIFORNIA (REUTERS) - They are a staple of the Southern California street scene.

Lowrider bicycles are as colourful as they are distinctive - with some bikes showing off custom paint jobs, golden handlebars and plush seats.

And some tricked out lowriders appear to be a reflection of their owner's personality - such as this purple, LA Laker Kobe Byrant-themed bicycle.

Here at Manny's Bike Shop in Compton, California, lowriders are custom made and handmade.

And bike shop owner Mr Manny Silva is regarded as one of the originators of this unique bicycle.

"When I was a little kid, I always dreamed with a bike and no money to buy a new one. So I buy me a used one and I fixed it up and painted it myself and made special parts for it. That's how they became the lowrider bicycles."

"Now people call me the godfather of the lowrider bicycles," he said.

Decades ago, lowrider bicycles began as a celebration of Mexican-American culture. But to some, they are viewed as a part LA's violent gang scene.

"The misconception is that people think that people who ride lowrider bicycles or lowrider cars are related to drugs but it's not true," added Mr Silva.

And as seen in pop culture music videos and films, the key to living the high-life might be to get a lowrider.