Susan B. Anthony said that the bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” but in the 1890s, bike-riding women weren’t exactly free to bike as they wished. Check out this list of 41 “don’ts” for female cyclists, published in 1895 by New York World:

  1. Don’t be a fright.
  2. Don’t faint on the road.
  3. Don’t wear a man’s cap.
  4. Don’t wear tight garters.
  5. Don’t forget your toolbag
  6. Don’t attempt a “century.”
  7. Don’t coast. It is dangerous.
  8. Don’t boast of your long rides.
  9. Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”
  10. Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
  11. Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”
  12. Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
  13. Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
  14. Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.
  15. Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.
  16. Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.
  17. Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
  18. Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
  19. Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
  20. Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
  21. Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
  22. Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
  23. Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
  24. Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
  25. Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
  26. Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
  27. Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble.
  28. Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
  29. Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
  30. Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you
  31. Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
  32. Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
  33. Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
  34. Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
  35. Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
  36. Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
  37. Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
  38. Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because yon ride a wheel.
  39. Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
  40. Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
  41. Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

To learn more about how bicycles changed women’s worlds, check out “Riding High” in our Oct/Nov 2012 issue, with cover girl Aubrey Plaza.

 

Image from the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Tagged in: bikes, bike, bicycles, bicycle   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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