The Ride to Suffrage

Do you know the role the bicycle played in women’s rights in the late 1800s to early 1900s? Sit down, history buffs. The bicycle provided independence and easy transportation for women in the USA. And once women took to bicycling, they quickly realized their clothing needed to change to be comfortable and safe on bicycles.

From The Atlantic: “Yes, 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.”

And changing fashion was just the first spoke in the wheel for women’s lib in the USA. According to Suffragette Susan B. Anthony, “the bicycle had done more for the emancipation of women than anything in the world.” If you want some good reading on the subject, check out posts from Crazy Guy on a Bike and The Atlantic.

Fast-forward to 2016, when the United States of America had its first female nominee for a major political party for the office of President. Imagine, less than 100 years ago women were fighting (and bicycling to the fight) for their voices to be heard as equal citizens and their right to vote. And this year, we were fighting to elect a woman to the highest office in the land.

At home and around the world, women are still fighting for equality. The election results from last night demonstrate that the United States of America is still fighting for equality. How far we’ve come, and yet how far we have to go.

I voted and rode my bicycle and pantsuit with pride yesterday. We are woman, we are strong and we are going to keep rolling.



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