Netflix has Stranger Things, and now Amazon Prime has answered with Paper Girls, a series based on the graphic novels of the same name that were first published back in 2015. The story has Stranger Things vibes at first glance: Four young girls are riding their bikes on their respective paper routes when strange things (ahem) begin to happen in the year 1988. But after that, the stories diverge, and the plot brings the girls into the future, 2019 to be precise.And their bikes are along for the ride.
Stranger Things brought about a renaissance for nostalgic kid’s bikes: The kinds that many of us recall having growing up. They weren’t BMX bikes or dirt jumpers or mountain bikes or road bikes, they were simply bikes designed for everything from pedaling to a friend’s house down the road or bushwhacking through the woods in search of adventure. And while as adults, we’ve come to embrace more specific bikes, there’s something just plain fun about a good old-fashioned bicycle. So, what’s the deal with the bikes in Paper Girls?
Have a look at the trailer above to scope out the bikes.
Why do bikes keep appearing in shows like this? NPR speculates that the bikes are important in establishing character identity: they representing the first taste of freedom—and the danger that comes with it. And of course, they’re plot devices. “The bikes are the main characters' tools of the trade,” writes Glen Weldon. “They're the means by which they go about their business — distributing morning newspapers — and the reason they're up before dawn to encounter three hooded figures who, it seems, are up to no earthly good.”
But what about the bikes themselves? First off, it has to be said that all four girls would make excellent hipster bike commuters in 2022, thanks to their newspaper-carrying messenger bags. Two of them are on more commuter-style hybrid bikes with front lights, while the other two (arguably more punk rock) girls are on BMX-styled rigs sans lights, but with higher seat posts to allow for easier pedaling. It would be a long paper route on a BMX bike with a dropped seat! While the photo above isn’t perfectly clear, we’re also digging the orange cuffs that match Tiffany’s bike, and we’re guessing that they’re tube socks pulled high over pant legs to avoid the pants getting caught in the chain, while also matching the bike’s paint scheme.
We’re hoping to see a bike collaboration similar to what Schwinn and Mongoose did with the bikes from Stranger Things. Sadly, none of those collab bikes are still available, but you can get a similar Mongoose bike here:
Or, if you prefer a more old-school vibe with gears that’s a bit more practical, consider something like this one from Schwinn:
Sling a messenger bag over your shoulder, pop an old-school bike light like this one on, and you’re good to go:
Based on the best-selling graphic novels written by Brian K. Vaughan, Paper Girls stars Camryn Jones as Tiffany Quilkin, Riley Lai Nelet (and Ali Wong) as Erin Tieng, Sofia Rosinsky as Mac Coyle, and Fina Strazza as KJ Brandman. You can stream Season 1 on Amazon Prime now… and then head out on a bike ride (or use it as a tool to convince your kiddos that paper routes can be fun).
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