A supremely comfortable bicycle with retro design cachet

Old-fashioned features, including wonderfully fat tyres, make the Electra bike an easy ride

The author’s Electra Townie Balloon 7i EQ bike, $910
The author’s Electra Townie Balloon 7i EQ bike, $910

One of the cleverest gifts I’ve received recently might just be my sea-blue Electra bike, given to me by my husband to use at the beach. It’s a vehicle of curvy charm: the shiny frame, the old-fashioned extra-fat tyres and the wide seat are a retro-design lover’s dream come true.

The Electra Amsterdam bike in aquamarine, $1,260
The Electra Amsterdam bike in aquamarine, $1,260

I use my Townie Balloon 7i EQ bike ($910) for buzzing around a small New England village, but the design makes it hugely comfortable for longer trips too. The brand’s patented Flat Foot Technology (the crank has been moved forward so it’s ahead of the seat tube) and low seat are a bonus for this cyclist d’un certain age because it means I can plant my feet firmly on the ground, without doing battle with a brakeless hipster convolution requiring backpedalling, or anything else that might lead to a wipeout. And the lightweight aluminium frame means that it isn’t the worst thing when that topple does occur (only once thus far).

Advertisement

While the Balloon model has seven gears, I rarely need to use more than three, such is the ease with which you can climb hills. My natural wicker front basket ($50) is a sweet add-on, a handy size for the morning papers or a towel and sunscreen.

The Electra Loft 3i bike in mint mojito, $520
The Electra Loft 3i bike in mint mojito, $520

This California-based bike brand may use old-school styling, but is right up to date when it comes to environmental awareness. It also does a line of e-bikes with intriguing sounding names like Ace of Spades Go! ($3,300) and Loft Go! ($2,800), which are meant for zipping across and around town at up to 25kph. And I’d love to own one of its Amsterdam bikes ($1,260) – preferably in a shade of aquamarine, with a jaunty bell on the handlebar.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Loading