July 1, 2015

Women and bicycles

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
by Sue Macy

If the bicycle hadn't been invented, women would still be stuck at home, limited by housework, corsets, and strict standards of behaviour. Bicycles gave them independence and more comfortable clothing, and allowed them to excel at sports. The bicycle also changed society as bike paths were constructed, repair shops opened, bicycle-related inventions flourished, and cycling clubs were formed.

A lively tone, attractive layout, and vintage photos, drawings, and advertisements make for an excellent, absorbing read. Double-page feature spreads tell amusing tales of celebrity cyclists, cycling slang, and bicycle songs. Adding to the interest are newspaper articles of the age, including an 1895 account of a woman stopped for wearing bloomers in Victoria, British Columbia.

Highly recommended.

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