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Grrrl bicycle ride

grrrl | 16.03.2007 20:20 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Gender

Wednesday 11th April
Women's/ Girl's Only Ride meet 7pm at The Basement for a nice social ride on mostly off road routes ending with a beer in a pub!

The impact of the bicycle on female emancipation should not be underestimated. The diamond-frame safety bicycle gave women unprecedented mobility, contributing to their larger participation in the lives of Western nations. As bicycles became safer and cheaper, more women had access to the personal freedom they embodied, and so the bicycle came to symbolise the New Woman of the late nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States.

Feminists and suffragists recognised its transformative power. Susan B. Anthony said: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." In 1895 Frances Willard, the tightly-laced president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, wrote a book called How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle, in which she praised the bicycle she learned to ride late in life, and which she named "Gladys", for its "gladdening effect" on her health and political optimism. Willard used a cycling metaphor to urge other suffragists to action, proclaiming, "I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum."

The backlash against the New (bicycling) Woman was demonstrated when the male undergraduates of Cambridge University chose to show their opposition to the admission of women as full members of the university by hanging a woman in effigy in the main town square -- tellingly, a woman on a bicycle. This was as late as 1897.

The safety bicycle was only relatively safe, and clearly women could not cycle in the then-current fashions for voluminous and restrictive dress. The bicycle craze fed into a movement for so-called rational dress, which helped liberate women from corsets and ankle-length skirts and other encumbering garments, substituting the then-shocking bloomers.

Part of the i bike mcr festival see for more info

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