Anne-Marije Rook wrote up a little post on her blog about women and bicycling in honor of International Women’s Day. If you have never read about the link between bicycles and women’s sufrage and social equality, I’d say now is the time to do it. Fascinating. I bet you didn’t know that bicycle between your legs could be this powerful (or maybe you did):
In a way, bicycling freed women. It gave them unprecedented mobility as they could pedal away from home and see parts of town and the countryside previously only seen from a carriage.
With their own bodily strength, they controlled their path and could feel the freedom of the fresh wind against their faces even if it was for just a leisurely afternoon ride.
Women got organized and created bicycling groups and since bicycling was impossible with the restrictive garments women wore at that time, the bicycling movement made way for less layers, shorter skirts and even athletic bloomers.
The unladylike clothing, positioning on the bike, and physical exercise of course didn’t come without social condemnation at first but bicycling women persevered.
You can also check out the book Wheels of Change by Sue Macy, which came out recently. It looks great. If you have read it, how was it? I should probably just buy it…