How bicycles boosted the women’s rights movement


Originally published at:


OTOH, they made those goofy tandems designed so that the woman sat in the front, but the man could steer from the back seat. For when you don’t want other people staring at your wife’s ass, but you still don’t trust her to steer. Not exactly empowering.


Ideally, both would pedal but the person in front would steer. Not sure why the person in back, who can’t see as well, would have to steer.


Like I said, because women can’t be trusted to steer. And you can tell that it is the woman in front, because those bikes were made with “women’s bike”* front frames and “men’s bike” rear frames.

*cutout frame for use with skirts.


Kate Beaton has done a drawing for just such a thing a few years back :slight_smile:


Still a dumb idea.

I was expecting the woman to ride in a basket-looking thing in front. That would be dumb, but less dumb.


Bicycles boosted a lot of things. A bit of a plot spoiler but somewhere in the North of England there was a bigamy case, and the man was asked by the court “how he had managed to maintain two wives without one being aware of the other.” To which he replied “I have a bicycle”.


Mechanical cleverness in the service of sexist stupidity.


Wish I could have been there to see the beginning of Londonderry’s journey. I imagine something like…

reads newspaper

“Curse those infernal men! I’ll show them! Son, lend me your bicycle!”

rides away, yanking a pair of underwear off the clothesline


came looking for the Hark! A Vagrant link… am not disappointed!


It’s too perfect of a moment to link to her work, i can’t pass it up. I also like her other pro-feminist comics, the snarky off the wall humor never fails to crack me up.


I think perhaps too it should be mentioned that the first ever real drive on ordinary roads by a motor car was carried out one weekend by Frau Bertha Benz. She took her children. She herself was a competent mechanic, and without her mechanical skills and improvisation they would never have completed the journey.
At the time I visited Pforzheim (where I heard about this) a memorial was erected at Wiesloch.


I remember “girls’” bikes, from my childhood, basically a regular bike with the central frame thinger removed, so they could be used by riders in long skirts. Do they still exist? I know those big skirts are pretty rare any more, but I am not up on childrens’ bikelore.

Back in the century I come from, a girl’s bike, like anything girly, was an object of derision. It was okay for a girl to ride one, because she was only a girl. But woe unto the boy who sat on one, even briefly. It doesn’t matter if he popped a righteous wheelie and then stole the bike; he was infected with cooties, and probably a sissy.

Nobody had to teach the kids. We all knew.


Sadly, this century isn’t all that different.


I still see them so it’s a thing, but my assumption was that it made it easier to swing your foot/leg around the bike when getting on and off. Still, gendered bikes make as much sense as gendered sneakers, shampoos and razors.


The low bar is so a woman could ride in a skirt


Some bike styles look nicer with the curved bar. When i was shopping around for bikes i was tempted by a few “girl” style cruiser bikes. Still i don’t think these gendered bikes are stopping people from buying what they want, i live near a university and more often than not i see people use regular bikes.


Same, because I don’t see a lot of women riding bikes in skirts. If they are, then the frame style doesn’t even seem to make that much of a difference.


I love Kate Beaton!

“Ain’t give a damn”!!! LOL!


Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round
Get on your bikes and ride