|*Image from renekmueller.com|
John Kemp Starley's "Safety Bicycle" 1885
In some ways, it’s still doing so. A century on, cycling’s impact on both fashion and politics continues. The huge rise in the numbers of commuter cyclists in the past few years has led to a corresponding rise in cycle-related clothing. Not all of it has been beneficial. No one could claim that hi-vis does much for a sensitive complexion.
But in mainland Europe, where cycles have been part of the general cityscape for decades, people adapt their cycles and their speed to suit what they’re wearing rather than the other way round. Instead of racing to work on a road bike as many do in London, they ride in exactly what they put on that morning. Sites such as www.copenhagencyclechic.com make it plain that on a bike with a skirt-guard and a step-through frame, it’s perfectly possible to pedal across town with stilettos, two children and several large items of kitchen furniture.
A bicycle still offers freedom, but this time from cars and queues, from oil, from rising prices and a life inside. It gives us back the landscape and makes us part of nature again. It belongs to everyone – every age, every class, every race and religion. And, most importantly of all, it’s fun. A century on, and bicycles are still liberating us all." -- from Bella Bathurst, Bicycles: The Chains that Set Women Free
**Note: It looks as though Bathurst's book, The Bicycle Book, can be purchased here. I can't seem to find a spot here in the U.S. quite yet to purchase, though I'm sure it could easily be shipped from the U.K.