Most people assume that crossbars were dropped on women’s bikes to make it possible to ride with dresses. However, the primary reason was more scandalous than that! This post traces the design history of bikes with dropped crossbars, and reveals the surprising recent change in the gendered association of the dropped crossbar.
Happy Memorial Day to all! It’s important to stop for a moment on these wonderful public holidays and think about the meaning of the day. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave their lives for their country in military service. Did you know that bikes have played a huge role in US military history?
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women began to escape some of their restrictions by riding bicycles. Despite strong opposition from men, women cycled on, and the bicycle became an instrument of change that subverted the status quo and became a powerful symbol of women’s emancipation. In this Guest Post, Andrew McLaughlin tells us all about the extraordinary role played by bicycles in women’s emancipation.
In 1897 an 8-year-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, wrote to a New York City newspaper, The Sun, to ask whether there really was a Santa Claus. They assured her that there was. And not only did Santa Claus exist for Virginia, but he was a very smart Santa Claus, with the good sense to give Virginia the priceless gift of a bicycle.
Veteran’s Day, aka Remembrance Day – World War 1 was the war to end all wars, which unfortunately did not end all wars. Bikes were in the thick of World War I from Day 1. How strange to imagine a world where the soldiers were on bikes, rather than fighter jets or tanks. Read about the forgotten role of bikes in war in this post.