“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.” ~ Susan B. Anthony
Considered unladylike and scandalous, women on bicycles, straddling a metal bar whilst wearing only bloomers, confounded 19th century males who were simultaneously chagrined and titillated.
Women, championed by feminists of their generation, viewed this new mode of transportation as liberating. Men were concerned this singular vehicle would lead to their wives’ and daughters’ downward spiral into immortality and infertility. They could also quite possibly find they enjoyed their freedom too much, and seek fulfillment away from hearth and home.
This misbehaving gave way to other forms of social change. Women intended to ride their Safety bicycles into self-reliant emancipation.