Electra Love: Lisa Loeb Lovin’ Her Townie
Bikes have always brought me joy. Living in San Diego as a kid, my friends and I would ride from house to house without our parents watching every move. It was the early 1970s, when kids had more freedom. As we got older and moved back to Dallas, Texas, I’d hop on my bike and ride to the local 7-11 to buy frozen pizzas with my brother or some friends. I felt so independent and loved the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair. Finding a speed hump or a little hill on the street was a true adventure. Once I had a bike with a white and sparkly fuchsia banana bike seat. Bikes were cool. Bikes still feel that way to me, without the breeze in my hair, thanks to the safety of modern bicycle helmets.
My Electra bike has played a large part in my life over the last few months. I recently made a video for my song “Shine,” a single from my new album, A Simple Trick to Happiness, which I wrote with Rich Jacques and Scott Effman. The lyrics to my song “Shine” reflect on how small things throughout each day can grow to become bigger and more difficult things if you let them, or conversely, you can realize that you have all that you need, and that you are a complete human who can appreciate life as it is and shine in your life.
My college friend Director Richard Yelland and I came up with a concept in which I cruise down a beautifully empty stretch of boardwalk near the Bolsa Chica beach with the expansive clear blue sky above, and the infinite ocean at my side. In the video I wanted to explore the world that Richard Yelland is well-known for creating in his surf movies, documentaries, and beautiful vintage photography. The world in the video came to life through his brilliant work with cinematographer Will Jobe and editor Matthew Johnston, who helped capture that feeling of immense freedom one gets while riding along the beach.
The song “Shine” was a perfect match for a music video in which I am riding a bike, and my Electra Townie was the perfect bike for it. I take the audience back to a more leisurely time, snapping photos with a real 35mm Leica camera and breathing in the fresh salty ocean air, all the while riding pensively down the beach. There’s just something about being at peace with yourself and knowing that you will grow and shine, and the feeling that you get when you go out on your bike. Your mind opens up and you are able to look at things in a different way and reset your emotions and your point of view about your life when you are out riding. It’s a truly special experience.
It was a bit of a concern at first, but for creative reasons the director recommended I forego wearing a helmet in the video. The video harkens back to my childhood, before we came to understand that helmets were one of the keys to safety. I felt safe, riding pretty slowly with almost no one around, and definitely no cars or large vehicles. When my kids and I ride in our day to day lives, we always wear helmets. It’s the rule that you have to have a helmet on before you get on a bike.
My Electra bike has given me great joy during this time of social distancing. Not only do I get to ride around the neighborhood, taking in the new flowers blooming and the birds chirping overhead, but I also get to see neighbors from a distance, and with sunscreen slathered on, enjoy the outside air (through my face mask).
Teaching my two kids to ride their bikes has been on my parenting list for a few years. My husband and I have had bouts with ‘bad backs,’ which doesn’t really help in the old school method in which you lean over the side, running down the block, lightly holding onto the bicycle seat. But with time and this stay-at-home order in place, our kids were ready and enthusiastic about learning to ride on their own. Within minutes, both were magically able to get on their bikes and figure it out. Now they are more excited than ever about going outside, still at a distance from neighbors, riding around the neighborhood. My daughter even asked me to wake up extra early before virtual schooling began so that we could go out and take a ride together.
Biking has become a family affair, and we explore neighborhoods close by, take in the beauty of nature, and have great conversations on our leisure rides. Of course it’s great exercise for all of us, as well, as we sit inside for long stretches of time on our computers doing work and going to school. It’s really important to me that we all think of it as fun, instead of “exercise,” and something we should do every day because it feeds our bodies, our minds, and our souls.
I hope people are enjoying safely riding around on their bikes, feeling connected to neighbors, nature, friends and family. I also hope that my video inspires a ride down a beach sometime soon!
Message of Safety Regarding Bicycle Helmets
It’s important that I point out the importance of always wearing a helmet when riding a bike. Although I chose not to wear a helmet in the video for creative reasons, I do not endorse riding without one in normal settings. Outside of making a music video, my family and I always wear helmets, as it’s the safest thing one can do to prevent an injury to the head while riding a bike. Please remember to always wear your helmet! It can save your live.