The freedom of the bicycle - Road Cycling UK

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The freedom of the bicycle


So, I am dipping my toe into the weird and wonderful waters of blogging in a hope to connect to ladies, women, girls and female types of all shapes and sizes who share the love of the bicycle commute.

I’ll admit, for me, it was a decision to overcome my fear of the London roads in order that I didn’t have to overcome my love of sleep. No joke – the cycling has added an hour to every day of my life and I (and my snooze button) couldn’t be happier. It’s also subtracted a thin layer off of my backside without nearly as much noticeable wheezing and sweating as running requires.

Following in the footsteps of our fore-mothers, I think it might be tempting to christen my ride as ‘Gladys’ for the ‘gladdening effect’ on my life (nerds among us might want to check out Frances Willard’s How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle – a  testament from 1895 to the beautiful freedom the bicycle offers to women who care to ride). The only problem, is that it’s kind of more of a tough-guy sort of bike (silver, straight frame, matte-black lugs) who would probably kick a Gladys in the shins and leave her choking on a plume of dust (especially if she had a basket).

Seriously though… I had no idea what a symbol of freedom the bicycle has been for women throughout its history. Did you know that the undergraduates at Cambridge burned an effigy of a woman on a bicycle in protest at the admission of women as full members of the university? Dare I say that this piece of information nearly blew my bloomers off!

And, ok, that was in 1897 – but the image of the fearsome woman on a mission (and a bike) stayed with us (think, Wicked Witch of the West) for quite a while. And it is rather due for an update, if you ask me.

That’s why it’s a privilege to enjoy the road with so many broads on bikes every day and why it’s a pleasure to have a forum where we can discuss the important issues for us (bike gear, bike etiquette, bike fashion, bike love or bike anything you like) in complete freedom.

In the words of Susan B. Anthony: “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.”

Mind the chafing!


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