I am scared to try the bicycles in the shop. The aisles are narrow and claustrophobic, and difficult
to maneuver. I try anyway. This powder blue Electra Gigi bicycle is chic and vintage in style.
The seat is pure white, with a 1950’s Martini pattern; those familiar orange and blue squares
roughly outlined in black that make you think of cardigans and poodle skirts.
I make it to the bicycle shop’s front doors, and the middle-aged, smiling, saleswoman urges me
to try it out on the street in front. I do. There’s a lot of room for the over-correction of my
steering between the asphalt in the front of the store and the uneven sidewalk that continues
lackadaisically down the street. The sidewalk is ample and the side street, which houses the tiny
bicycle shop, in comparison is nearly empty.
I gather more speed, and the white wall tires enjoy their abandon. My steering is straighter now.
The wind carries off every last fragment of fear, and I am overcome with joy. The smile becomes
my face and laugher bursts from my throat. This is the moment I know this is the right bike for
It is radiant in the sun, shimmering, and the thick, steel rack over the back tire is more than
enough room to carry my backpack, groceries, and whatever else I want to carry. I start to think
of a variety of vintage additions for this new bicycle. Torpedo lights, aptly named because they
are shaped like torpedoes, silver and menacing, and bowling pin tire valve caps, blaze the trail
for ideal additions.
The bicycle basket couldn’t be anything other than reminiscent of Dorothy’s bicycle basket in the
The Wizard of Oz which is large, with thin wiring and semi propped up with stiff steel legs
that attach to the front wheel fender and the handlebar fork.
I want to feel like Audrey Hepburn on my bicycle, on her bicycle. There’s a style, a je nous se
qua, to the 1950’s America. There is innocence and, in contrast, a devilish side to the lost era. I
think this bicycle screams this.
I confidently ride back to the bicycle shop. I’ve claimed this bicycle as my own. I am Audrey
Hepburn, I am elegant, and poised. I am free. I can do anything on this bicycle. I am pretty. My
hair is long and flowing. I take deep breaths in between attacks of giggles and my cheeks hurt
from too much smiling.
I realize this bicycle is more than a beautiful transportation contraption; it is style and brazen
womanhood on two wheels.
MYLA THOMAS FAIRCHILD writes out of madness, and works on computers to support her comic book addiction.