Lady cyclists (1894)

Lady cyclists

Women who “bike” and “trike” says the Daily Telegraph, are quite a feature of the landscape this holiday season. So strongly has the costume developed in the direction of masculinity that at country inns and in quiet, out-of-the-way rural haunts, the advent of one of the cyclists is the signal for an outpouring cottage doors and an assemblage of rustic children, whose remarks are half bewilderment, half rudeness. It needs some courage to face all this, especially if one is conscious of redundant curves and overflowing adiposity of tissue. But the lady cyclists has the courage of her opinions and presents an impassive front to spectators. “What’s you? Be it man or woman?” is a frequent question, elicited more particularly when the rider of the iron horse belongs to the “emancipated” section and wears her hair with the brevity of a man’s. If, in addition, she smokes a cigarette as she dashes through the country villages, it is not surprising that she presents a sex problem to the gazers. Sometimes the costume is in no respect different from that of the male cyclists, though usually a short skirt is added to the knickerbockers and Norfolk jacket. There is often a distinctively feminine headgear, more decoratively ornamented than that of the male, but the chief distinguishing feature ought to be and frequently is, the coil of burnished hair that glints in the sun under the rim of the protective sailor hat.
The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, August 22, 1894

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