Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cycling Fiends of 1894

While searching for information about Annie Londonderry, who rode around the world in 1895, I found the following article that demonstrates that doctors were quite free with their opinions about cycling.

"In my daily wait in Central Park," said Dr. Sayre, "I have been very much struck by the number of young men who ride bicycles in harmful positions. They lean over till their noses almost touch the front wheel, their arms fixed to the handles with the rigity of death, their chests caved in and their backs bent into a semicircle. The girls ride in better positions than the men as a rule, because their feminine self-respect prevents them from making themselves ridiculous."

"I have spoken to several of the young men in the park about it, saying to them: 'Now, my boy, why don't you sit up like that pretty girl." This usually has the effect of making them getting into better positions and also of making them feel uncomfortable."

"They tell me that they stoop because the resistance of the wind is decreased in this position, and they get more purchase on the wheel. But the exercise, if it really necessitates such a position, is worse than useless. The bicyclists should take time, and not be in such a feverish hurry."

From the article "The Cycling Fiends" in the St. Paul Daily Globe, October 22, 1894

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