Women have been used in bicycle ads almost since the beginning ("used" is a pretty good word here). I mean, who can forget that iconic Cycles Gladiator ad from the 1890s? At that time, bicycles represented speed, beauty, and freedom, and many of the ads from the early days of bicycles characterized those ideas with almost-mythical women and celestial scenes, often hinting that on a bicycle one might actually take flight. Is it any wonder that the Wright brothers started out making bicycles?
|Cycles Gladiator - 1890s - is probably the most recognizable bicycle advertisement from that era, but the themes of the etherial, goddess-like woman, flying with the bike through a starry sky, can be found in many other bicycle ads from the same time period. More can be seen in this post from last year (here). I have to admit, I really like these "golden age" posters, and have quite a collection of them.|
|In this ad from the 1920s, a much more earthbound woman enjoys her bike by the sea. More terrestrial, less idealistic. It's a nice poster -- captures the style of the time pretty well.|
|I'm guessing this was from the 40s. It definitely has some of that "pin-up" quality to it, and the artist made sure to emphasize the woman's bust as much as possible, but on the whole, it's pretty tame.|
|Late 60s? Early 70s? This woman's dress looks pretty "mod." I'm not sure how practical it would be if she actually wanted to ride the bike, though. Then again, I don't think that's why she's in the picture.|
|This one ran in the 70s -- I've seen a couple versions of it with the same girl, different poses. One version said "From Sweden, With Love." I don't know if she'd be able to ride with toe-clips in those shoes. Pretty typical of 70s bike-boom era ads.|