Lady cyclists were a favorite subject for comment in the pages of satirical publications such as Punch. Hundreds of poems, diatribes, and cartoons on the topic were published in the years during and buffering the cycling craze. The lady cyclists portrayed in these comic images tend to fall into two categories: the niave butterfly rider unsteady on her machine and the manly scorcher with her bold mannerisms and bifurcate costume.
In the scenario above, Jessie makes a drawing room appearance in her new rational cycling costume. A shocked Gertrude asks “My dear, what on earth is that bicycle suit for!” Jessie responds, “Why, to wear, of course.” “But you haven’t got a bicycle!” replies Gertrude, to which Jessie retorts, “No; but I’ve got a sewing machine!”
Several more examples of Punch cartoons featuring lady cyclists are reproduced below.
Punch, 12 January 1895.
Punch, 6 September 1899.
Punch, 4 June 1898.
Punch, 18 May 1895.
Punch, 1 February 1896.