Lilly Yokoi – The Ballerina On The Golden Bicycle, was known to be the greatest acrobat on a bike throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
To this day, her solo bicycle act is still regarded as the best act there ever was. I will keep an open mind, but I have to say, I am yet to find one to match it.
Although of Japanese descent, she grew up in the United States in a family of acrobatic circus performers.
Her parents, Eizo and Rui Yokoi, moved to the U.S. in the 1920s. They had four daughters—Kimiko, Olga, Lilly, and Mary—and a son called George, who were all trained in their craft. They performed as a family which consisted of bicycle and unicycle act: The Yokoi Family.
The girls were known for high-level technical ability for acrobatics on bikes, and did tricks that were rarely seen for their time. Lilly went on to become the star of the show due to her on stage charisma and grace.
As she became an adult, she moved on to her solo act as The Ballerina On The Golden Bicycle.
News of her exceptional talent traveled fast, and there became a demand for her in Europe. Lilly performed at some of the most prestigious venues, such as The Lido in Paris, Hansa Theater in Hamburg and The London Palladium.
Lilly Yokoi was about the highest paid circus artiste in the world.
If you wanted to book her back then, you were looking at a two year wait, due to her ever-expanding popularity.
She was quite a reserved and private person, and when she retired she ended up moving back to Japan where her roots were.
It is hard to believe Lilly was pulling these kind of free-styling moves 50 years ago! Her tricks are so well performed—they haven’t aged and still blow me away. It must take a lot of practice to get to that level of skill.
I have seen other Artistic Cyclists before but, I think there is something pretty special about her presence on stage and the ease in which she performs. She is technically outstanding and have you ever seen anyone pull off those kind of moves in heels and with such grace? Impressive stuff.
Lily Yokoi performing in 1961:
Lilly Yokoi totally owns it. And the golden fixie I must say, is a nice touch.