With biking on my mind, I’ve been having some fun reading up on the sport the last few days. Came across this little gem of a list – Don’ts for Women Bike Riders circa 1895. Now, I have my favorites from the list (numbers 7, 11, 34, 41 and 42). I don’t even know what “a bike face” means, but I am going to work on cultivating one. Also, cows can be scary so it’s okay to scream if you come across one. Have you ever been in a herd of cows that for no apparent reason decide to run? That is scary stuff my friend. Also, after reading this, I really want a pair of bloomers and will have to contact Jennifer at Under the Root for some soon.

And if you need inspiration to overcome these rules, then check out this story on Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky, who ignored every bit of this advice and in 1895 became the first women to bike around the world. What an amazing story!

So beware New Yorkers, I’ll be the lady with her legs thrown over her handlebars and coasting down hills.

Don’ts for Women Bike Riders circa 1895

  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 criticise 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 imagine everybody is looking at you.
  18. Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
  19. Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
  20. Don’t keep your mouth open on dirty roads.
  21. Don’t converse while in a scorching position
  22. Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
  23. Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
  24. Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
  25. Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
  26. Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
  27. Don’t tempt fate by riding too near the curbstone.
  28. Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
  29. Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
  30. Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
  31. Don’t think you look as pretty as every fashion plate.
  32. Don’t go out without a needle, thread and thimble.
  33. Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you.
  34. Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
  35. Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
  36. Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
  37. Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
  38. Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
  39. Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
  40. Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
  41. Don’t throw your legs over the handle bar and coast down hill.
  42. Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
  43. Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because yon ride a wheel.
  44. Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
  45. Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
  46. Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

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