Horses and bicycles (1878)

Horses and bicycles

To the editor of The Times

Sir, – I read in The Times an account of the death of a man accustomed to horses in consequence of careless bicycle-riding causing a runaway, and at this season there is not a day when such an occurrence may not be looked for. I have been long accustomed to drive and ride and am thought more ready with hand and eye than most people. The horses, on which I must rely for moving about (being myself lame), have always become nervous at sound of the bell and one has been run into by a bicycle, so that he is furious on a near approach. Last week one of these nuisances came down the high road through a town; the horse sprung round, but I was able to back him until we could turn without an upset. The man, who saw what was the effect of his fun, not only did not keep off to the far side of the road, but rushed close to us, nearly touching the horse. Let me not forget to say some riders on these things are gentlemen, who no sooner guess what is likely to be a difficulty then they stop and dismount ready to afford assistance in case of danger. Racehorses have training grounds and why allow a more unmanageable and alarming thing to run about in every public thoroughfare?

Yours obediently,                   A LADY

The Times, Friday, Aug 30, 1878; pg. 8

Velocipedes for ladies

By the substitute of a basket seat in the centre of the bicycle instead of a saddle, the vehicle can be used by ladies, if any can be found with nerve and assurance enough to drive it. This mode of locomotion may suit the tastes of the fast young ladies on the Broadway of New York, or be used as an additional attraction by the demi-monde of Paris, but even the English girls of the period would hesitate to make a public appearance upon one of these new-fashioned coursers. A party of young ladies have taken up the matter in New York preparatory to making their debut in the approaching summer, and the velocipedist thus describes their dress:- “Let the outer dress skirt be made so as to button its entire length in front. The back part should be made to button from the bottom to a point about three-eights of a yard up the skirt. This arrangement does not detract at all from the appearance of an ordinary walking costume. When the wearer wishes to prepare for a drive, she simply loosens two or three of the lower buttons at the front and back, and bringing together the two ends of each side, separately, buttons them in this way around each ankle. This gives a full skirt around each ankle, and, when mounted, the dress falls gracefully at each side of the front wheel.”

Liverpool Mercury,Monday, April 5, 1869

Leave a Reply