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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rules for lady Cyclists

On 21st June 1895, the Newark Sunday Advocate ran the following article:
The Unique Cycling club of Chicago is all that its name implies. One of its laws is that on all runs bloomers and knickerbockers shall be worn, and two members who disobeyed this rule recently met with a punishment that they will not forget soon. Union park was the rendezvous for the last run, and 50 members turned out. The president, Miss Bunker, observed two women wearing short skirts over their bloomers.
“Take the skirts off,” ordered Captain Bunker.
“Indeed we won’t,” was the reply.

A crowd of 200 had collected to see the start. The president and the captain held a consultation, and then, taking several strong armed members with them, fell on the skirt wearers and stripped them down to their bloomers.
“It was done in all seriousness,” said Mrs. Langdon. “The club’s rules are made to be kept and not to be broken. Why did we take off the skirts in public? For no other reason but to make examples of the offenders. They publicly defied our rules and were published accordingly.”
New York World 1895
Don’t be a fright
Don’t faint on the road
Don’t wear a man’s cap
Don’t wear tight garters
Don’t forget your tool bag
Don’t attempt a “century”
Don’t coast. It is dangerous
Don’t boast of your long rides
Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”
Don’t wear loud hued leggings
Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face”
Don’t refuse assistance up a hill
Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit
Don’t neglect a “lights out” cry
Don’t wear jewellery while on a tour
Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers
Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome
Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you
Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume
Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers
Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars
Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private
Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing
Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys
Don’t go out after dark without a male escort
Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble
Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match”
Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back
Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you
Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers
Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know
Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well
Don’t overdo things
Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor
Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman
Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels”
Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run
Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because you ride a wheel
Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground
Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily
Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

‘Rational dress’ for cyclists
When Annie Londonderry embarked on a circumnavigation of the globe in 1896 (to settle a bet that a woman could not cycle around the world), she soon discarded the corset and heavy skirts considered acceptable sportswear at the time in favour the more liberating athletic bloomers pictured below.
The rational dress society statement of purpose reads in part: The Rational Dress society protests against the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure, impedes the movement of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health. It protests against the wearing of tightly fitted corsets, of high-heeled or narrow toed boots and shoes; of heavily weighted skirts, as rendering healthy exercise almost impossible.
However, the bloomer made enemies with women wearing them complaining of being ridiculed, fined, and even treated “like a prostitute” by local authorities.

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