Wheels of Change

2 Mar


Wheels of change

“To men, the bicycle in the beginning was merely a new toy, another machine added to the long list of devices they knew in their work and play.

To women, it was a steed upon which they rode into a new world.”

“Women and the Wheel" Munsey’s Magazine, May 1986

“What possessed Frances Willard to learn to ride a bicycle at age 53?  She did it for her health, she wrote, and for the “pure love of nature.” She also wanted to inspire other women to learn to ride:  “I hold that the more interests women and men can have in common, in thought, word, and deed, the happier it will be for the home.”  Finally, she declared that she did it “because a good many people thought I could not do it at my age.”

“In less than a decade, the growing bicycle craze created one of the largest industries in the country.  In 1885, the heyday of the ordinary, there were only six cycle manufacturers in the U.S., with a total annual output of 11,000 bicycles.  Five years later, with the safety now available, there were 17 manufacturers, and they produced 40,000 bicycles.

In 1895, the New York Times reported the existence of 126 manufacturers with an expected output of nearly half a million machines in the U.S. alone.

Annual production reached one million bicycles in 1896.”

“I am delighted with my wheel, I am equally as fond of it as my horse”.

                                                                                  Annie Oakley – 1892

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