Tag Archives: women

Bicycle Fashion Files Part Two: 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. Part two continues on from part one, which covered the cycling fashion of the early 1800s. Dress Constraints and Conventions in the … Continue reading

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

Fashion is one of the most popular topics in women’s cycling history, especially the bloomers and rationals of the 1890s and the idea of emancipation associated with them. But, women’s cycling fashion has a much longer and more diverse history than this implies. The Bicycle … 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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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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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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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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