In happier days, Brad and Angelina rode a matching pair of sleek, black Schwinn Cruisers around the streets of New Orleans; Pitt, towing a trailer on the back for the kids, forsaking a helmet for a more classy fedora.
Elle Macpherson made world headlines sitting son Cy on the handlebars of her retro-cool bike for the ride to his Notting Hill School. Paparazzi often catch her pedalling in a dress and suede-fringed, knee-high sandals - abiding by the No. 1 rule of the Copenhagen Cycle Chic Manifesto: "I choose to cycle chic and, at every opportunity, I will choose style over speed."
Celebrity cyclists are hitting the streets and helping launch a worldwide revival in classic vintage-style cycles, with big, steel "sit-up-and-beg" frames with fat tyres, wicker baskets, and bells.
Agyness Deyn, Miley Cyrus and Pamela Anderson have red, white and pink ones. The phenomenon has reached New Zealand, where urban peddlers are duelling with lycra-clad racers and courier bikers for space on city streets and cycle paths - but at a more relaxed pace, with a comfortable, upright carriage. Retro bikes are making their way into bike shops, which for decades have been the macho haven of sleek racing machines and grunty mountainbikes.
While the classics are heavier - most of the frames are steel - and not cheap, riders aren't afraid to pay for style and comfort. Even their names are chic: Sonnet Bliss, Lazy Susan, Steamer, Paris Pure, Scrap Deluxe, Short John and Bronx Regal.
Cycling retro isn't just about the bike - it's about fashion, with not a stitch of spandex in sight. There is no uniform - just regular people, riding in everyday clothes - but still, the fashion industry has leapt on to the back carrier.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton asked New York fashion students to create a range of chic cycling wear; Emporio Armani and Cynthia Rowley used cruiser bikes in last year's runway shows. But with the spectre of our roads being dangerous for anyone on two wheels, Auckland's new genre of laid-back commuters are asking for more cycle-friendly access to the core of the city - like Amsterdam, New York, Copenhagen and Beijing, who've laid out hundred of miles of bike lanes to encourage commuting by pedal power.
Jenny Marshall (aka Unity Finesmith)
Jenny Marshall - pen name Unity Finesmith, author of the Auckland Cycle Chic blog - has figured out that plastic flowers, a summer frock and heels are the best safety measures for cycling on the city's streets.
Marshall has threaded floral leis around the rear wire basket of her Giant Cypress bike and tries to dress glam when she rides from her inner-city apartment to work.
"It's the best safety measure you could have. People give me miles of room because they think 'there's that daft bat, I won't get anywhere near her'," says Marshall, a tutor at the University of Auckland's Student Learning Centre.
"It makes me laugh seeing people on the cycle lanes around the waterfront in enormous day-glo vests. The speed we're doing, we're no threat to anyone. I've never been scared on a bike; I'm more afraid in a car."
Riding a bike has always been the favoured mode of transport for Marshall, who pedalled her early years through the English Midlands, London, France and Melbourne.
"When I moved to Auckland I was amazed at the lack of bike culture. The only bikes were used for sport, and that was so alien to me. It was all head-down, lycra-clad, testosterone-driven 20-somethings running red lights. I call it the urban warrior mentality," Marshall says.
"Now there's definitely a rise in a fashionable bike culture here, even if we're a little behind the worldwide trend. I ride all around the city - our family doesn't own a car - and people say, 'you're so brave'.
But most of the time, I'm moving faster than the traffic - it's either gridlocked during the week or empty on weekends. You pick your routes on side streets if it's too busy.
"Cycling is great for curing population health, congestion, pollution - all these issues that any modern city has. Logistically, you can't continue to have everyone driving a 4WD everywhere.
"Now we need to put in some dedicated cycle paths and make one-way streets two-way for bikes. People on bikes have a lovely connection to their city - steel boxes only damage the heart of a city."
With friend Pippa Coom, Marshall is co-organiser of the Auckland chapter of Frocks On Bikes, a movement to get more people riding socially, without having to put on bike pants.
Marshall tries to "look fabulous at all times" when she's riding, turning her helmet into a feather-festooned hat, and sometimes wearing heels to pedal. Her bronze sit-up, step-through Cypress is made by the world's biggest bicycle maker, Giant.
The self-named "godmother of bicycles", Giant's executive vice-president Bonnie Tu, is on a crusade to get more women riding and seeing bikes as "natural, everyday accessories, like handbags". Marshall has her Giant decked out with mudguards, chainguard and vinyl skirts to protect her gorgeous clothes.
For her blog, she takes photos of others "looking great on their bikes - I call them the urban cycle crowd".
"These styley bikes are beautiful machines - there's never anything more beautiful than a good-looking girl or boy on a bicycle."
Electra Amsterdam Royal 8
Katya (8), Electra Betty
and Levi (6), Electra Rockabilly Boogy
Levi is the envy of every little bike-mad boy in Sandringham. His Rockabilly Boogy is a rust-red, low-seated, high-handlebarred machine with Fatti-O tyres and a single gear.
The 6-year-old thinks it looks like a motorbike. "His eyes popped out of his head when he saw it," his mother, Krista Dudson, says. "All the little boys ogle it, and follow him around."
Levi, his 8-year-old sister Katya and their mum all got Electra retro bikes last Christmas. Katya's is an Electra Betty - a shiny black step-through frame with pink and white wheel rims and flames painted on the guards.
Miley Cyrus rides a grown-up's version (the Rosie), which was Katya's motivation to move up to a bigger bike.
"We took the bikes to Hahei for our holidays and people kept stopping us to ask about them. I felt a bit conspicuous," says Dudson. But not embarrassed. Hers is a jet black Amsterdam Royal 8 - with ergonomic swept-back handlebars, fenders, chainguard, mud flap and skirt, but with the modern specs of eight-speed internal gear and roller brakes.
British supermodel Agyness Deyn rides her Amsterdam around the streets of New York. A Californian-based company started by a Swiss graphic designer in 1993, Electra bases its cycles on the balloon-tired American cruiser bikes that became icons of the 1950s. Their paint jobs are legendary.
Dudson's dream to own one of these bicycles stemmed from the childhood bike she never had. "We weren't allowed bikes as kids," says Dudson. "We lived in Meadowbank and my parents worried about the traffic. My grandmother in Levin had this big, old nana bike that we would ride all day. I loved sitting upright, riding around.
"With the Amsterdam, I love the comfortable seat. You can wear long skirts and not have to hitch them up. And I love the aesthetics of it, the big handlebars ... everything about it."
Her bike is for pleasure, cruising around the flat streets of Sandringham in a convoy with the kids. "We've finally reached that age where the kids are off their trainer wheels and we can go riding as a family. I also wanted it for quick jaunts to the shop - I'm not interested in battling traffic into the city," she says.
Her husband, a designer, isn't so keen to join the retro band; he's more interested in a bike made from bamboo. The latest in eco-friendly transport, they're light, stiff, strong, soak up the bumps and are kind to the planet.
Pashley Sonnet Bliss Novelist
Sarah Laing had no intention of buying a new bike, until she saw the ivory and cherry red Pashley Sonnet Bliss gleaming in the window of Pt Chevalier bike shop, Rode. "I'd been coveting it ever since," says Laing, who eventually treated herself to the English-made bike for Christmas.
A mountain bike rider, Laing had a soft spot for old-fashioned bikes, but was discouraged by the single gear of yesteryear. "But this one has five gears, which appealed to me much more. I love the dynamo light, and the 'ding-dong' bell to give pedestrians a fright," she says.
It's kind of fitting that Laing, an award-winning short-story writer and author of acclaimed first novel Dead People's Music, fell for a bike inspired by William Shakespeare.
England's longest established bikemaker, Pashley has built its stylish-yet-functional bikes in Stratford-on-Avon for 80 years, and named this bike for Shakespeare's sonnets. Her handbag tossed in the front basket, Laing rides around Mt Albert to go to the supermarket, the library or simply explore the neighbourhood.
"I've never been one to don lycra or exercise clothes and now I can jump on the bike wearing whatever I like. I love the feeling of cruising around wearing nice frocks," she says.
Knowing she has to wear a lid, she's gone for a little velocouture, with a bold, floral helmet. "It's really nice being able to sit up and not have to hoist your leg over the crossbar. You feel a bit more composed; there's something a little undignified about that hard-core exercise on a mountain bike. I'm not one to join a gym, but I like the idea of integrating the bike ride into my everyday life."
When Laing, a mother-of-three including baby Violet, takes up her Buddle Findlay Sargeson literary fellowship at Auckland University this year, she'll use the bike as daily transport into the city.
She also has plans to join the Frocks on Bikes brigade on their leisurely expeditions. She thought about taking the baby seat off the back of her old 21-speed mountain bike (now the property of her husband) and putting it on the Bliss, but decided against it.
"I'm going to keep it as a grown-up's bike, just for me."
Cycling the colourful streets of Amsterdam, Martin Gorzeman and Susanne Sparks came to realise just how far from home they were.
"We saw that there's not really this kind of cycling in Auckland. It's a way of living," Gorzeman says.
"Over there, the bike rules. They rule over pedestrians; they have their own lanes. The car is shunted off to the outskirts of the city. It's cool, and we need that here."
So on arriving back in New Zealand, the film industry couple decided to import the types of retro bikes they'd been riding - Velorbis (Danish-designed bikes made in Germany) and the German Retrovelo.
Last year, Gorzeman and Sparks sold 50 bikes through their Urban Bicycle Company in Auckland. Females have far outnumbered male customers, but men are also now buying bikes with low bars, historically designed for women to lift their long skirts over.
"In Europe, they no longer call it a ladies bike - it's a step-through and it crosses genders," says Gorzeman.
While the bikes are fitted with modern technology - seven gears in an internal hub, with roller and disc brakes - it's the old familiar extras that give the bikes a sense of style and time.
A leather saddle, fenders and chainguards, and chrome headlights driven by a dynamo, so the light goes on as long as the bike goes forward. Retrovelo invented "Fat Frank" balloon tyres for European streets, to smooth out bumpy roads, curbs and street car rails.
The Urban Bicycle Company's most popular bike has been the Velorbis Victoria Classic - a Dutch-style bike with the "sit-up-and-beg" upright stance, and a wicker basket on the front. It retails for $2370.
Gorzeman rides a black Retrovelo ($2500) to his local cafe or on a Sunday jaunt. Within his small showroom, he has a butcher's bike, complete with a heavy-duty steel front carrier that can lug a load of 40kg, and a name plate beneath the crossbar.
A Melbourne winery is interested in buying it. He's just imported a load of e-bikes - electric bicycles - from Dutch brand Gazelle. The retro frames hide a 2.5kg rechargeable lithium-ion battery under the back carrier, and the engine is concealed inside the hub of the front wheel - it only kicks in when you need extra pedal power.
"It's an amazing ride. I went up a couple of roads in Mt Eden without having to get off the seat. It makes a tiny little whirr and it looks like you're riding on a travelator. They're ideal for Auckland's hills, and people are asking for them," Gorzeman says.
"This is where the future will go with cycling."By Suzanne McFadden