The railway companies are threatened with Jesmond girls (1890)

 

The railway companies are threatened with ruin, Jesmond girls have taken to cycling, and they go and see their Sunderland and Shields cousins without going to the Central Station to take tickets for the journey. We have seen some of the darlings trundling along the highways and we cannot say that the spectacle was exhilarating. There was a good exhibition of calf, and the action was not always graceful. As they will go on, however, until they tire of the pastime, we may as well do what we can to make it what it should be as nearly as possible. So we give what a lady rider says:-

To begin with, no lady rider should dream of wearing corsets when riding. I have tried both ways. I have ridden long distances with them and long distances without them; and I have no hesitation in saying that their effect is to hinder free breathing and to render hill-climbing a matter of great difficulty, if not an impossibility, while they afford no help whatever.

As for the skirt, that should be as plainly made as possible. I prefer a skirt made of tweed, not too thick, but still sufficiently heavy to resist the wind. This is a very important point and should be carefully attended to. If one’s skirts are blowing about, good-bye to all comfort.

And more than this, there is positive danger. I have had a skirt of light material get so entangled in my driving gear that I had to part with a large portion of it before I could quit my machine; with a hasty dismount, which sometimes becomes an imperative necessity if one should meet with a restive horse or a herd of cattle, would, of course, have been out of the question.

As to the length of the skirt, I find it best to have it cut so that it will just touch he ground at the back when the wearer is standing, and be a little shorter in front, so that it will clear the treadle when the foot is pressed down and forward in driving the machine.

For footwear I prefer shoes, as they give free play to the ankle and are cooler, more comfortable and more sightly than boots. They should, however, be furnished with a good stout sole, or the pressure of the treadle will be felt through them and the rider will be rendered footsore.

Gloves should invariably be worn. It is not only that they add materially to the appearance of the rider, but they protect her in a marked degree from one of the greatest of her enemies – vibration. In summer I use washleather gloves, sold for the purpose by the bicycle dealers, but in cooler weather a pair of knitted woollen gloves are perhaps the best.

(The Newcastle Weekly Courant, September 27, 1890, issue 11254)

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