Source: Mental floss
In 1894, Annie accepted a challenge – cycle around the world in 15 months, and earn $5,000 in the process. She succeeded, becoming the first woman to cycle around the world!
Source: The League of American Bicyclists
Kittie Knox was a pioneer in cycling for women and people of color. At the age of 21, she dared to challenge the “color bar” by becoming a card holding member of the League of American Wheelmen. As well as and making a name for herself in Boston, as part of the first black cycling group.
Source: The League of American Bicyclists
Belva Lockwood was the first female lawyer admitted to practice before the Supreme Court, and her journey to success was aided by her adult tricycle! Choosing it as her transport of choice, to help make her work more efficient, she caused such a stir that President Cleveland even took notice.
Source: 5280 Magazine
Dora Reinhart, took up cycling in 1894, at a time when society discouraged female riders. She gained the reputation of “America’s Greatest Cyclienne”, for her long-distance riding. She also addressed the Annual Convention of the Colorado State Medical Society, advocating for women and the difficulties of cycling in a skirt.
Source: Sheila Hanlon
Maria E Wards book, Bicycling for ladies, was one of the many books published in the cycle crazed era. Her book stood out from her rivals due to the attention to mechanical detail it provided its readers. Many books at the time were aimed at leisure riders and focused on riding etiquette. Ward’s book was significantly more progressive, as its objective was to empower women by teaching them the laws of mechanics and physiology.
Source: The Brighton Bicycle Club
Annie Oakley was a famous sharpshooter, touring with circuses as part of the Frank and Annie sharpshooting team. As part of her act Annie would ride her bicycle and shoot targets. She was an enthusiastic cyclist, designing her own riding costume for shows, as well as riding enthusiastically around London.
Cycling and Empowerment
Source: Middle East Eye
In Yemen, a group of young women are turning to bicycles, to not only overcome the fuel-shortage, but to challenge cultural taboo and start a societal revolution. Young women have come together on a women-only bike ride across the city, the first of its kind in Yemen. The images that surfaced online were met with outrage, as well as overwhelming support for women’s rights and freedom.
Source: The New York Times
Before the Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza, women cycling in public was a common sight. Currently, women have been restricted from partaking in many physical activities, and cycling in public is seen as a “violation” of Gaza values. However these rules are being challenged by a group of women who believe a womens role in society extendeds furthur than merely the walls of their houses. Cycling has provided a sense of freedom and power back to these women, and is encouraging young girls and women to join them.
Afghan Cycles is a feature documentary about a new generation of Afghan women pushing gender and cultural barriers by riding bicycles. It follows a diverse group of women who are risking their honour and lives for the liberation of riding a bicycle.
A bike rally in Pakistan has provided a space for women to come together and get comfortable with cycling in public. The rally brought together bike lenders and borrowers, as well as male cyclists lending their bikes to female participants. It has brought the community together to encourage women to reclaim the streets, without fear of harassment.
Jeanne d’Arc, a Rwandan cyclist, is paving a way for Rwandan women in cycling. As well as quickly proving herself as a competitive and successful athlete, she is opening doors for future riders and showing women that they don’t have to follow traditional gender roles. That they too can race bicycles, and be successful.
Chris Mosier is an American Transgender advocate and triathlete, earning a spot on the 2015 Team USA sprint duathlon. He is the first out transgender man to make a U.S.A. National Team.
Kristina Rodriguez is a yogi, a power lifter, and a cyclist who braves the streets of New York City on her bicycle.
Eileen Sheridan is a cycling legend, having specialised in time trials and road racing. She broke all of the records of the Women’s Road Records Association during the 1940s and 1950s.
Michelle Dumaresq is a Canadian professional downhill mountain bike competitor and post-operative trans woman. Dumaresq is a top competitor, beating out many professionals when she ranked as a novice. This stirred a lot of controversy amongst her fellow competitors, however Dumaresq has been able to compete at a competitive level as a women, and is considered a trailblazer.
Source: Bike Magazine
Beryl Burton was a sickly child, spending large amounts of her childhood in hospitals. However by the age of 22 she had won the first of her 25 Best British All-Rounder Titles, setting records that still stand. At the peak of her power, and regularly beating men, she represented her country at the international level. Regularly competing against her daughter for first place.
Source: The Bicycle Story
As a young Swedish immigrant to the United States, Tillie Anderson made a name for herself in the world of competitive cycling. She quickly became a start of American Cycling, and was named the best female cyclist in the world, by The League of American Wheelmen.
Source: Total Women’s Cycling
Juliana Buhring, having never ridden a bike until the age of 30, is now arguable the world’s strongest female ultra-endurance cyclist. Taking on the challenge, she circumnavigated the globe in a record breaking 152 days.
Source: Adventure Journal
In 1938, Billie Fleming took up a challenge that had only been attempted by men, a contest to see who could ride the most miles in a single year. At the age of 24 she set a world record for miles cycled in a year, and this record still stands 78 years later.
Kristen Worley is an elite track cyclist who is challenging the rules in elite sports which create unhealthy circumstances for transgender athletes.
Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) is a fast growing cycling community and organisation that supports and encourages women of color to share their passion of cycling. Monica Garrison, the founder of BGDB, has always had a fascination with bikes, but noticed that there were very few women of color in her travels. Starting BGDB has allowed women of color to come together to enjoy cycling, as well as encouraging women to purchase bikes to join in on the BGDB rides.
Source: Bicycle Times
WE Bike (Women Empowerment Through Bicycles) began as a student’s Masters thesis, and is now a growing movement that encourages urban women to become involved in racing, fixing bicycles, and utilising bicycles are a form of transport. Based in New York City, WE Bike runs workshops and meetups that allow women to ride together and share advice and tips on cycling in the city.
Based out of car dominated Los Angeles, Ovarian Psycos is a group of women of color who have chosen cycling as a way for women to take back the streets. Ovarian Psycos hope to connect women with and foster a respectful relationship with Mother Earth, by empowering each other and created a safe space within their communities.