Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One thing leads to another

... who would have thought a bicycle would lead you anywhere except to where you're peddling to?

Now, the bicycle started off as a funny little thing, invented in Germany and known as a "running machine". You didn't actually peddle anywhere, but you ran along with this thing between your legs.

Now, my first thought was, well, at least they scored on the downhills. But then I went back to look for the brakes and, um, I can't see any? Can you?

Moving rapidly on to 1860, we get the bone-shaker, 3 guesses where it got its name from? But, hey, at least this one had pedals.

And here's where I start getting impressed: I never really thought about a bicycle as anything more than a bicycle... in the 1880's, the 'safety bicycle' came along, or really just the bicycle as we know it today.

Which led to...
 Susan B. Anthony said, "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."

I had to smile at that.

But that's not all, all these bicycles and freedom led to the "Dress Reform" from middle to late Victorian era because all those petticoats and corsets were probably not ideal for peddling about the countryside. Ladies wanted something more practical for their athletic activities...

Say "Hello" to the Bloomer Suit

Not quite your spandex cycling shorts, but I love it, love it, love it. This is one of the reasons I love researching for my historical writing. I love reading and watching how women came into their own, how each small step brought them to where we are today.

Unfortunately, the fashion didn't last long before most women were forced back to more traditional wear due to public ridicule, but it was a start and from then on, the focus turned more on making undergarments more comfortable and rational (where they could not be ridiculed in public!!) ... and this finally led to the demise of the restrictive corset of those times.

You know what? I'm going to use this bloomer suit in the book I'm currently writing. It stands for everything women have had to fight for, the setbacks, the subtle path forward, and never giving up.

References pulled from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/]
[reference from wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle]


Alyssa Everett said...

My gosh, I love that "running machine" thing. It's like a scooter than can hit you in the groin.

Wendy Soliman said...

You don't want to know what thoughts went through my head when I read the running machine bit! Slap on wrist. Naught girl!

Great, informative post, as always, Claire.