Did bicycling help the women’s suffrage movement? This article says yes, which is a cool concept. As an aside, can we move to stop calling it “suffrage”? Because that doesn’t sound like anything that I want to be a fan of. But I am. Universally.
According to the article, the freedom of cycling, and the change in behavior (and clothing) that it inspired, helped along the emancipation of the ladies. Yay! One thing that I wish – and I have to be careful, because I only have experience with a small slice of humanity – is that more ladies felt comfortable on bikes these days. I kind of like blogs like Velo Vogue that feminize cycling culture – not because it’s necessary in all cases, but because I think that the things that keep many women (including me) from cycling more often are very practical. How can you do it and wear heels? Where do you put your bag/purse? What if you don’t want to show up everywhere all sweaty? Dudes have concerns as well, of course, and many are likely the same. For example, I have not yet seen a drag queen on a bike, which is something you’d expect in San Francisco. (Because: heels, purse, sweat.) I have, however, enjoyed the spectacle of Dykes on Bikes, which is awesome.
And of course there are concerns about cycling safety, which are being addressed by groups like the SF Bike Coalition. Which has also started dating service, to get cyclists to meet and make cycling babies. Bicycling eugenics! Anyway. I love the idea that there’s a historic connection between bikes and feminism. The end.