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How Bicycles Helped Emancipate Women

Bicycle racer Elsa von Blumen on her high-wheeler

Susan B. Anthony famously said that the bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” Sue Macy’s book, Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a few flat tires along the way) tells you why. 

From the influence on fashion (the first pants were for biking) to the impact the bike had on social justice and women’s lib, Macy’s book explores the early days of women and wheels. She will be reading from the acclaimed book this evening at Public Bikes from 6-8 p.m. More details here.

Though the book, published by National Geographic, is billed as a Young Adult title, it’s really for anyone who loves bikes and the rich history of bicycling. The vintage photos of women in corsets riding side-saddle high-wheel bikes and tough ladies in bloomers racing across cobblestone streets will make any pedal-loving fan excited. 

Ride over to South Park tonight to hear more about the rich, colorful history of women and bikes. And as you race through the city on your steed, thank women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton who ushered in the bike-friendly bloomers, and inventors like Albert Pope who introduced Americans to the pedal-powered transit we love today.