Hooray for the Freedom Machine!

Last week my aunt sent me a link that I can’t resist sharing with you—since I have a feeling that many of our readers share my interest in (OK, obsession with) both cycling and women’s issues/history. And there’s even a bonus nod to France! The only surprise is that it took me this long to post the link.

Taking freedom by the bars

Taking freedom by the bars

Rebecca Ramsey’s Wonders Never Cease focuses on one “wonder” per post, giving a brief history and presenting images collected from various sources. Her May 13 post highlights the bicycle—or, as the suffragettes dubbed it “the Freedom Machine”—and includes this stellar quote from Susan B.:

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

As Rebecca says, woo-hoo! Other highlights of the post include a history of Michelin tires, a lovely bicycle ad from the early 1900s and a clip of the bicycle’s precursor the Dandy Horse. So, during National Bike Month, take a moment to celebrate the unique place the bike has had in women’s lives.

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11 thoughts on “Hooray for the Freedom Machine!

  1. anna says:

    I really like what Susan says. Over at citycycling.co.uk they sell a T-shirt (and many others) with that quote: http://www.redbubble.com/people/citycycling/t-shirts/2509603-3-womanhood

  2. academichic says:

    Great link, thanks for posting! I study nineteenth century literature and gender studies and have definitely come across many a documents hailing the bike for what it did for women’s mobility and liberation! As if we needed any more reasons to love our bikes?!

  3. Trisha, thanks for the shout out! It’s great to meet you!

    • Jennie says:

      What an amazing story! I started reading the first bit at work and decided to print it out and read it tonight – I was getting sucked in and I have a deadline this afternoon! Not a good day to be distracted!

      Trish – Did you pick up your new bike this weekend?

  4. dottie says:

    Love this post. The bike still does lots for women’s freedom, most notably in my life by making it safe for me to be outside after dark by myself. Yay bikes!

  5. Scott says:

    Good post!

  6. sara says:

    There’s a t-shirt waiting to be made with that quotation– or at least part of it…

  7. miss sarah says:

    This is totally what my thesis is about! Ecofeminism… it’s rad.

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