The never-ending appeal of the bicycle as a glamour shoot prop and suggestion of health, fitness and wholesomeness.
Bicycles – and cyclists – do not immediately suggest sexiness… at least not around these parts, where terrible red-faced people on bikes constantly hurtle at speed down busy pavements in increasingly entitled ways. But that’s just London (it probably isn’t, but still). Nevertheless, the bicycle has long been an effective prop for glamour shots for reasons that are obvious when you think about it. Not only do they provide a great outdoor-based prop to pose someone against and a way of flashing legs and emphasising butts, but they also imply a wholesome sense of fitness – your pose is not all about sex appeal, honestly, it’s entirely to do with exercise and is thoroughly wholesome. The nude shots perhaps expose the lie of this, but no matter – as any naturist would tell you, the naked lifestyle is one of health and efficiency rather than eroticism. And in fact, the nude models we see on bicycles tend to be intimidatingly toned, polished and distant – not so much the come hither look as the ‘who the hell are you’ glare quite often. Oh, and then there’s all that lycra and the cycling shorts. Yes, it all makes sense really when you give it a bit of thought, even if the fantasy of the cyclist rarely resembles the reality.
There is a long history of the pin-up and the bicycle coming together, from Hollywood celebrities caught showing their fresh-faced wholesomeness riding around the backlots to models being used to sell bikes to prospective customers – sex has been used to sell everything and bicycles are certainly no exception. Many of these images capture a time and a place, and that’s as much down to the bike as it is the model. There is arguably nothing more of its time than an archetypal 1970s dolly bird and a Chopper – that’s the breathtakingly fashionable kid’s bike of the era, lest your mind was thinking of anything else. And of course, Queen’s Bicycle Race came complete with a promo shoot and video featuring numerous naked women riding around Wembley Stadium – in the interests of science, you can enjoy the behind-the-scenes footage below.
The collision of cycling, nudity and wholesome healthiness has, of course, found a home in the World Naked Bike Ride, the charity event that allows exhibitionists and naturists alike the opportunity to parade naked in city streets with the blessings of the authorities who might otherwise have them arrested for indecent exposure. Why public nudity is only dangerous on the days not licensed by local councils is a mystery that we may never answer. In any case, the event is genuinely global and for those of you so inclined, more information on forthcoming events can be found here.
Here, then, are a collection of photographs showing actors and models posing with bikes. No suggestiveness implied, obviously.
And here are a selection of less famous but equally glamorous models celebrating the pleasures of pedal power. As ever, we are sticking mostly to the more vintage of images here – but as ever, this is just the tip of the iceberg and a carefully-worded image search will find countless modern glamour images of similar style. You can’t beat the classic poses, it seems.
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