Girls on my mind

Since seeing a young lassie bumping along the footpath on an old ladies bike yesterday—no helmet, basket, looking so smug—I have thought about nothing other than ladies… or at least ladies bikes. Here is what the suffragette writer Susan B Anthony famously said in 1896:

I’ll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood." (Source)

                 A friend of mine.                              I wish they were friends of mine!            Ah, that dear wife of mine 🙂

Ah, ladies! At once just like people, yet so thoroughly alien. They appear to me, much as I must appear to a driver, I suppose, and in that sense I feel an affinity with these misunderstood, delicate creatures. Come to think of it, I actually live with a lady, my adorable Primrose, who bore me two sons and who chatters beside me while I’m blogging each evening. I have no idea where I’m going with this, except to say: 1. I see twenty ladies each Saturday racing, where 20 years ago there would be just one; 2. blogs like Dotty’s are breeding; 3. surprise surprise, bicycles appear in the oldest pornography (google "pedal porn classic" if curious); 4. bicycle boutiques targeting women are not losing sales to online stores the way bikes shops for men are, and finally;

5. women are the pedaling force behind the cultural ascension of cycling.

So long as we remember man invented the dérailleur [1.], we should credit woman with the invention of bicycle transit.

1. For all I know, a woman invented the dérailleur as well.

2. And here’s a story by someone who has actually thought about girls riding bikes.

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