Reader David Pertuz thought LGRAB readers would be particularly interested in a post on the Detroit blog m-bike.org written by Todd Scott, called 1895: Don’ts for women riders. (Thanks, David!) That’s right – 41 “don’ts” to be exact, from an 1895 article in New York World. The list is both hilarious and horrifying. We are lucky to be looking at this from 115 years in the future.
A few of my favorites:
Don’t be a fright.
Don’t faint on the road.
Don’t boast of your long rides.
Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?
Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
In his post, Todd makes a good point:
For those who get nostalgic for that 1890s golden era of cycling, it’s important to realize it wasn’t golden for everyone. Major Taylor can vouch for that.
Yeah, really. I enjoy TweedRides, but there’s no way men would have “let” me join them back in the day for a drinking ride from pub to pub, especially with all my fainting, screaming, and bloomer talk.
Chicago’s second Critical Lass ride rolled out last Thursday, this time with a group of nearly 30. Like the inaugural ride in May, the ride was so much fun. I love it!
As you can see in my photos below, it’s a women’s ride, plain and simple. All lasses are welcome! I guarantee you will be greeted by the friendliest group of women in Chicago.
(Saying goodbye to mom)
Chatting with others and riding side-by-side was easy due to the super calm route. After about an hour, we ended at a bar in Logan Square, where I stayed for a couple of hours, enjoying beer and buffalo wing specials.
The next Critical Lass ride is July 21 – always the third Thursday of the month, starting at the Polish Triangle. I hope to see even more lasses there next time!
I bow down, once again, to our amazing leader Ash.
Sun, women, bikes, brunch, sangria, fresh mown grass = a perfect Sunday morning. This month’s women-who-bike brunch was a picnic on the lakefront, with everyone bringing a dish to share – and boy were there some delicious baked goods! Although Chicago has scores of great brunch restaurants, the picnic was so much better than being cooped up indoors. After about 8 months of cold, Chicagoans know how to enjoy the summer!
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves now.
Thank you, awesome women, for choosing to spend your Sunday morning with the group!
As always, women in the Chicago area who would like to join the brunch (or one of the happy hours – next one on Monday, June 13) should email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.
The women-who-bike brunch continues to grow each month, to my great delight. The fourth official brunch last Sunday was the biggest yet, with 20 women attending. This was after 6 people sent their condolences due to the inches of fresh falling snow that greeted us in the morning. Quite a few of us, including me, opted for public transportation due to the weather, but the important part was gathering together and talking with cool women, no matter how we traveled on that particular day.
By the time sunny spring rolls around, we’re going to change things up and start having pot luck picnics. We’ll have to: no restaurant will be able to contain us!
The brunch location: Ann Sather
Our table of 20
Martha and Chicargo Bike
Danielle and Megan
Famous Ann Sather Cinnamon Rolls
After interesting, intelligent, silly and fun conversation and many huge cinnamon rolls, it was time to unlock our bikes, talk some more and eventually disperse until next month.
Megan unlocks her bike
Sara and Danielle (the latter 9 months pregnant and riding her Christiana Trike!)
I’m eagerly looking forward to the next brunch already. We’ll have to meet up for a happy hour in the meantime. :)
The next women-who-bike brunch will take place on Sunday, March 6. If you would like to be on the email list for the time and location, please email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com. The more the merrier!
I also created a group on The Chainlink so we can more easily communicate among each other and continue spreading the word.
My third women-who-bike brunch was the biggest yet, with nearly 20 women gathering together on a freezing Sunday morning to enjoy each other’s company and $3 mimosas. I love these brunches for the opportunity to sit down and have great conversations with so many smart, fun women. Next we’ll expand to happy hours, in the spring we’ll start some group rides and from there we’ll take over the world.
As Trisha discussed on Sunday, last week the women of Academichic hosted Dress Your Best Week, an event that encouraged readers to dress to highlight their best features in lieu of the usual dressing to minimize real or perceived “figure flaws.” The discussion in the comments section about whether biking has created any “best” body parts was both funny and inspiring. Strong legs and backside, toned arms (for those climbers) and waist, healthy lungs with fewer asthma problems – all of these benefits were listed by more than one person. The consensus is that bicycling makes one feel better physically – no surprise there! – but also feel better about themselves.
In our bipolar society, where the most obese population in the world is inundated with dangerous images of “beauty” by the media and where “fit” people drive to the gym to run on the treadmill, millions are locked in a struggle with their bodies. Even healthy and otherwise happy young women waste immeasurable time fixated on perceived flaws and self-loathing. For evidence of this, read Courtney Martin’sPerfect Girls, Starving Daughters, on the frightening new normalcy of hating your body.
Dressing my best means fun and comfortable clothes that make me happy
The solution is a lifestyle change that favors simplicity over excess and regards the human body as a tool rather than merely a decoration. A big part of such a lifestyle is active transportation, especially cycling. Riding a bicycle as daily transportation can radically shift both how you feel and how you feel about yourself. The benefits are the same that make sports so good for adolescents, especially girls. Transportation bicycling is even better than sports, as there is no competition or pressure to perform, and cycling fits seamlessly into every day life. Free of the need to carve out time in your day to work out, you are simultaneously free of the self-loathing that accompanies the failure to do so.
When your body carries you several miles to and from work every day, you appreciate your body as a tool and a workhorse. When your lungs fill with air and your heart pumps energetically, you know your body is good, without having to examine it in the mirror, searching for flaws. If society declares that your body is not ideal because you are not skinny enough or muscular enough, or your hips or thighs are too big, you know that society is wrong because your body works for you admirably every day.
Bicycling is not a wonder drug or a total solution to the deeply entrenched problem of body image and self-esteem, but it is a small change that individuals can make to live a healthier and happier life. Plus, riding a bike is fun!