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May 20, 2015

Why Bicycling Was Racy in the 1800s
by Meg Dunn

Once upon a time, most people walked if they wanted to get from point A to point B. Men with a little more money might ride a horse, or ride in a buggy behind a horse. But during Victorian times, women often had to rely upon a man if she wanted to travel further than just a few blocks from her house....

Then came the bicycle. And the world was turned upside down.

To understand the change that took place, you really need to think back to what women were wearing in the Victorian era — corsets and full length dresses with layers of petticoats and other undergarments underneath. It made cycling a very difficult endeavor for women. First of all, you couldn’t just hop on any old bicycle. It had to be particularly made to accommodate a dress. But even then you still had to worry about the edges of the dress getting caught in the spokes of the bike or collecting dust and dirt from trailing on the ground.

Nonetheless, the idea of being able to hop on this mechanical transport system and take yourself anywhere… ANYWHERE! without requiring a horse, or a buggy, or a man. Well! I tell you what. This new fangled machine was an idea that sparked the excitement of women everywhere. It meant freedom of movement in a way simply not possible for most women before that point.

Republished with permission from the author.  CLICK HERE to read the entire article. 

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