Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Cycling a Benefit to Women" (1897)

Cyclists in Washington 1897
From the Summer Washington DC Evening Times cycling page
Cycling a Benefit to Women.

Women, perhaps more than men, are benefited by wheeling. Before the bicycle was perfected, horseback riding was the only outdoor exercise of the kind suited to feminine needs, and good, gentle, sound riding horses were hard to find, expensive to buy, and still more expensive to take care of, so that few women kept one. Good bicycles, although costly, seem to be within the means of almost every person; at all events hundreds and thousands of women and girls who never could have owned a horse go gaily over our streets and roads on bicycles that are quite equal in price to any but the finest Kentucky steeds. The good effect of this change from sedentary indoor life to free and exhilarating exercise in the open air is already quite noticeable even to the casual observer. Prejudice has rapidly given way before the fascinating progress of what at first seemed but the fad of an hour. and we have already become accustomed to seeing sunbrowned faces, once sallow and languid, whisk past us at every turn of the street. The magnetism of vivid health has overcome conservative barriers that were impregnable to every other force. And this is, let us hope, but the beginning of a revolution, humane and soundly rational, which will bring an era of vigorous physical life to women.

From the Washington Evening Times.
July 31 1897

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