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Biking as a Late 19th Century 'Emblem of Women's Rights'

Writing for The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance details how the bicycle paved the way for many liberating political advancement for women.

"Both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are credited with declaring that 'woman is riding to suffrage on the bicycle,'" explains LaFrance.

Moreover, "bicycle-riding required a shift away from the restrictive, modest fashion of the Victorian age, and ushered in a new era of exposed ankles—or at least visible bloomers—that represented such a departure from the laced up, ruffled down fashion that preceded it that bicycling women became a fascination to the (mostly male) newspaper reporters of the time." 

The article then goes on to cite a notable example of "early American mansplaining"—a city-by-city breakdown of women's cycling fashions by W.J. Lampton in the May 1897 issue of The New York Sun.

At the end of the article, LaFrance eloquently states why commentary such as Lampton's made have made biking such an appealing option to women of the era.

Full Story: How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women's Rights


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