Author Archives: Sheila Hanlon

About Sheila Hanlon

Dr Sheila Hanlon is a historian specialising in women's cycling history.

Read More Bicycle History on The Cycling UK Website

Are you interested in reading more about cycling history? Visit the history section of the Cycling UK website! As Cycling UK’s historian, I have been researching the history of this influential organisation from it’s foundation as the Bicycle Touring Club … Continue reading

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Bicycle Fashion Files Part Three: The 1890s Craze

Innovation and experimentation in Late Victorian women’s cycling costumes An explosion of women’s cycling fashion accompanied the cycling craze on the 1890s. The third and final blog in the Bicycle Fashion Files series looks at practical, popular and inventive approaches to late … Continue reading

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Cycling to Suffrage on BBC Two “Inside The Factory: Bicycles”

You may have seen me pedaling across your television screen this summer! As part of BBC Two’s “Inside the Factory: Bicycles,” Ruth Goodman and I explore the significance of cycling to women’s emancipation. Using archival materials from The Woman’s Library, … Continue reading

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Bicycle Fashion Files Part Two: Tricycles and Highwheelers, 1870-1880s

The Question of Women’s Dress During the Heyday of Tricycles and Highwheelers, 1870-1880s The second instalment of the Bicycle Fashion Files examines cycling dress in the age of the tricycle and highwheeler, 1870s-80s. While only a few women took to … Continue reading

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Bicycle Fashion Files Part One: Early Inventions 1790-1860s

Adapting Women’s Dress to Early Cycling Technology, 1790-1860s Fashion is one of the most popular topics in women’s cycling history. The Bicycle Fashion Files look at women’s cycling fashion across three eras, Early Inventions 1790-1860s, Highwheeling and Tricycling 1870-1880s, and The Cycling Craze … Continue reading

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Bicycle Face: A guide to Victorian cycling diseases

  “Don’t cultivate a bicycle face.” — Don’ts for women on bicycles, New York World, 1895 Medical professionals kept a watchful eye on cycling when it rose in prominence as a fashionable form of leisure for men and women in … Continue reading

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The Bicycle: Freedom Machine on The Forum, BBC World Service

From Monday 12 October, you’ll be able to hear me and three other cycling experts discuss the importance of the bicycle in an episode of The Forum on BBC World Service. Bridget Kendall leads the discussion with social enterprise entrepreneur … Continue reading

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Ladies Cycling Clubs: The Origins and Politics of Victorian Women’s Bicycling Associations

The wheelmen’s club, outfitted in dapper uniforms and racing en masse down a country road, is one of the enduring images of late Victorian masculine associational culture. Cycling clubs may have started out as male reserves, especially during the highwheeler … Continue reading

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The Lady Ariel Side-Saddle Ordinary, 1874

  The Lady Ariel Side-Saddle Ordinary of 1874, shown above, is one of the most eccentric and innovative designs in the history of the bicycle as a gendered object. The Ordinary, commonly known as the highwheeler or penny farthing, was … Continue reading

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Tessie Reynolds: The Stormy Petrel in the Struggle for Women’s Equality in Cycle Racing and Dress

In 1893, a remarkable sixteen year old girl rode from Brighton to London and back in record time, covering the full distance in just over 8.5 hours. Her name was Tessie Reynolds, and though the news of the day had … Continue reading

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