Author Archives: Sheila Hanlon

About Sheila Hanlon

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

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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Cycling to Suffrage, Manchester

  Cycling to Suffrage Manchester Cycling to Suffrage has gone on the road to Manchester. Working in association with Team Glow, the Cycling to Suffrage: The Bicycle and Women’s Rights, 1890-1914 exhibit opens at the People’s History Museum, Manchester March … Continue reading

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Hack Attack

I’ve been hit. As you may note from my header, my site has been fallen prey to a rather unwelcome visitor. Repair work is underway, and I hope to be rid of that stowaway soon. Until then, please continue to … Continue reading

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The Battersea Park Cyclists’ Row

The bicycle literally and figuratively transported women beyond the bounds of the home and into public space in late-Victorian London. Not surprisingly, this incursion into open areas, such as city streets and country lanes, caused mild moral panic among a … Continue reading

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Ladies’ Cycle Races at The Royal Aquarium: A Late Victorian Sporting Spectacle

S.Begg, Lisette takes the lead at The Royal Aquarium, 1896 On November 18th, 1895 novice racer Monica Harwood, a young woman from Buckinghamshire who had only learned to bicycle six months earlier, took her place on the track at The … Continue reading

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A Christmas Cycling Wish, c. 1898

Happy holidays to all of you out there on two wheels! A Christmas Wish May you steer a steady course and everything go well, No obstacles your pathway cross, when you ring the belle! Image source: Christmas Card, c. 1898 … Continue reading

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Over the Alps on a Bicycle by Elizabeth Robins Pennell Available for Kindle

Elizabeth Robins Pennell’s 1898 book Over the Alps on a Bicycle, illustrated by her husband Joseph Pennell,┬áis now available on Kindle. This edition was “re-mastered” so to speak as an e-book by Cathy Ryan for Eltanin Publishing from the original … Continue reading

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Imperial Bicyclists: Women travel writers on wheels in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century world

Early one morning at the end of August 1884, Elizabeth Robins Pennell and her husband Joseph Pennell strapped their luggage to their tricycle and wheeled out of Russell Square before anyone else was stirring. They headed south toward London Bridge, … Continue reading

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“Woman power” bicycle kanga from The British Museum

Powerful women on bicycles are everywhere these days–even in the stairwells of The British Museum! The “Woman power” bicycle kanga shown above hangs in The British Museum’s North Stairs near the Africa galleries. It was printed for the Kali Mata … Continue reading

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