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Women's Cycling

Bicycling for women emerged in the 1890s. Before then bicycles were relatively dangerous high-wheel models, ridden almost exclusively by athletic young men. Cycling became more accessible with the development of the "safety" bicycle (which had wheels of equal size, a chain drive and air-filled tyres) and woman seized the opportunity to break away from their chaperoned and constricted lives. Of course, it wasn't so simple and cycling was seen as evil by critics.

Cyling Holiday

Progressive plan Cycling It was said that women who cycled were mannish and sexually loose. Riding a bicycle was seen as masturbating, which was completely unacceptable. However, this did not stop women. Women's rights advocates were ecstatic as cycling became more than just a way to get out and about, but the bike would force dress reform and make it easier to throw of other oppressive constraints. Women were liberated and could ride a bike uncorseted and wearing divided skirts or bloomers. The bicycle craze actually led to a movement for so-called rational dress.

The diamond-frames safety bike gave woman unprecedented mobility, contributing to their emancipation in Western nations. Bicycles became safer and cheaper and more women were able to experience the "freedom" of the bike and the bicycle came to symbolise the "new woman" of the late nineteenth century, especially in Britain and the United States.

Women's rights advocates, feminists and suffragists saw the bicycle as a "freedom machine". Of course it was not without pains. In 1897 male undergraduates of Cambridge University hanged a woman (on a bicycle of course) in effigy in the main town square to show that they oppose being admitted to the university as full members.

Of course today women need not worry about any restrictions as they are free to cycle as any male does. Cyclists all over the world consist of 50% of women; however it is still a male dominated sport. But that certainly won't stop us!