The bicycle as a symbol of freedom
Around the 18th century, when the bicycle emerged as a mode of transportation, women’s rights were at the expense of a man’s decision. However, in addition to the constant marches and movements in favor of women’s rights, the bike was a great ally that came to give them the freedom to move without having to be carried or accompanied by someone else. Today we tell you about 3 women cyclists for whom the bicycle represented, more than a mode of transport, a symbol of freedom.
The first woman to circumnavigate the world on a bicycle
She was born in 1870 in Latvia, but in childhood she emigrated to the United States. She was known as a fearless and daring woman. She got married and had three children, worked in a company that sold advertisements in newspapers and magazines. And apparently because of a bet, on June 25, 1894, she left everything behind and embarked on an adventure that seemed impossible for a woman in those days: to go around the world on a bicycle. The feat took her 15 months and she rode a bicycle designed for men, wearing not a long dress (as she used to), but rather bloomers.
Pioneer in women’s cycling
Since she was little, her passion was bicycles. At the age of 18, with savings from her work as a seamstress, she managed to buy a bicycle and thus she began to compete in cycling races. Despite her inexperience, she won many of those races and even broke records. At just 20 years old, she was considered the best cyclist in the world by the League of American Wheelmen. She has been recorded as having entered 130 of her races in her lifetime, of which she won first place in 123.
A housewife who broke the men’s cycling record
In 1955 she started cycling and two years later, Beryl won her first national medal. Her training consisted of housework on a farm and cycling through the valleys. With this, on September 17, 1967, at the age of 30, she made history in the United Kingdom Cycling Time Trial Championships, an endurance race in which men also competed. In it she broke the men’s world record, clocking 446.19 km of Yorkshire highways and country lanes in 12 hours, which is a mark of 37.18 km per hour. And though she had numerous offers to become a professional cyclist, she Beryl continued as an amateur throughout her career.
There is no doubt that the bicycle has been a symbol of liberation and empowerment for women. And if you haven’t, we recommend you watch the movie: “The Green Bicycle”, in which this is reflected in the life of the protagonist. Also, let’s remember what Susan B. Anthony, a women’s rights activist, said:
“I’ll tell you what I think about cycling: It has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. Cycling gives women a feeling of freedom and self-confidence. I support and get excited every time I see a woman who pedals on two wheels.