How bicycles boosted the women's rights movement

How bicycles boosted the women's rights movement

Susan B. Anthony said that the bicycle did “more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

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The late 19th century inaugurated a period of bicycle mania in the U.S. In 1897 alone over 2 million bicycles were sold, one for about every 30 Americans. Early bicycles were unwieldy and required an enormous amount of strength to operate. But as the technology advanced and chain-powered “safety” bicycles came onto the scene, women flocked to bikes en masse as a new means of exercise and transportation. This new activity required a change in dress since the billowing skirts that were fashionable at the time were unwieldy and problematic. “Bloomers”, or baggy undergarments, were easier to cycle in and became common among women, inciting a political firestorm, enraging men who questioned the decency of women who were challenging norms and donning clothing they viewed as depraved. Bicycles not only gave women a new sense of independence, it also physically broadened their horizons, allowing them expanded mobility without needing to rely on men. These developments contributed to the fight for women’s equality and the passing of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, with Susan B. Anthony even going so far as to say that bicycles had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

Also make sure to check out Sue Macy’s excellent book on the subject “Wheels of Change”


  1. Plush Plush on June 27, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Bicycle 🚲 Contraction:Bike

  2. AdaptorLive on June 27, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Bicycleface… Love it!

  3. Jaketus on June 27, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Because women cant drive cars. 😂😂😂

  4. sophblueberry on June 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    The video didn’t directly address the question other than to quote Susan B. Anthony a couple times. How exactly was women’s suffrage helped by the adoption of practical fashion and a sexist culture backlash? I can fill in some blanks with the description about transportation freedom and independence, but that is more of a nice bedtime story than some meaningful historical analysis. Disappointed.

  5. Charles on June 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    I thought at Edoardo Bianchi was the pioneer of the safety bike, they state that on Bianchi’s website.

    Life is too short to ride boring bikes, get yourself a Bianchi Specialissima, Colnago C60 or Colgano CF10 (If you could still find one).

  6. silverDsherry on June 27, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    hm seems like these men have a very fragile ego

  7. Bearded Honky on June 27, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    if more women rode bike’s the highways would be alot safer

  8. Allie Girouard on June 27, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    This is such a fascinating video! We can’t lose sight of the fascinating methods and tools that helped women before us fight for their rights (we still have a long way to go, they could come in handy)

  9. PasscodeAdvance on June 27, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I love the Bicycle. It’s so eco friendly and easy and fun.
    It may be quite sad in 2018-2019 that this is related to those feminists like for example the third wave femi—-uh wait is my current opinion too offensive and NPC?
    Well. I’m not supposed to care about feminism, next thing the bicycle will save are the Transgenders

  10. gcyeow1963 on June 27, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I wear pants. Great. Now I have depression.

  11. Zoe on June 27, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    So they would make women think they would get dark circles and become pale if they rode a bike?

  12. lubavamalisheva on June 27, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Женским голосом это всё сказать нельзя было, разумеется.

  13. Louis De Vos on June 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Defendant maximum personal experimental maintenance unknown same work.

  14. Mike Connor on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    I saw a neat performance piece a few years ago called Spin that was about women’s liberation and bicycles. It was a one-woman show with musical accompaniment. I still get the Annie Londonderry song stuck in my head ("Annie Londonderry rode no ordinary"). Fun fact from that show: Londonderry was not her real last name but was the name of the soap company who sponsored her trip.

  15. Mr/Clusterfuck on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    bicycle face? lol

  16. Sean Heavenmount on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I love how everyone in these pictures is generally upper class. What a bourgie movement indeed.

  17. Toby Goodguy on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I’d like to see Hillary pump her fat ass on a bike up to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 2020.

  18. Hair to the Throne on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I am riding a skateboard from now on

  19. Grid 88 on June 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    I love bicycles.

  20. Gayle Huiner on June 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Bring the penny-farthing back and hold jousting tournaments…

  21. Ville Törölä on June 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Vox is a kind of channel that demands women rights while defending Islam…

  22. mana_narie x on June 27, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Bicycle face lmao

  23. Clowder 64 on June 27, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Elizabeth katie Stanton is related to my friend!

  24. Jeffrey Harte on June 27, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Can’t believe I’ve never heard the story about Annie Londonderry before. How cool is that?!

  25. Wizard Fan on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    That swear caught me off

  26. Kyoumi masu on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    It’s sad that our past had such stupid reasons for keeping women under mans thumb… Looks more and more like Handmaid’s Tale to me.

  27. LightningBlueMeanie on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Of course! Now she can get to the grocery store faster to make me a sandwich.

  28. legend drex on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Now woman can cross an ocean with a bycicle. Neither can’t any man

  29. Sam on June 27, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I would be the happiest human alive if you guys put links to the music you use in your bio instead of just in the credits. It’s always so hard to find.

  30. Saul Alvarez on June 27, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    It was only for white women right?

  31. Greenyvilanboy on June 27, 2019 at 8:57 pm


  32. Guest Informant on June 27, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    2:30 "For some reason some men were not happy."
    And presumably *some **_women_** were not happy* but that doesn’t fit the narrative, so we should disregard it?

  33. EliteSkrubb on June 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    I also don’t think they need such advanced technology to get around from the bedroom to the kitchen

  34. PHANT0MxSTALKER on June 27, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    There is only one gender women are objects xD

  35. winter32842 on June 27, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    These "men" who are down voting this video; will be born as women next life where they will have no rights.

  36. BMOC Barrazobama on June 27, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    These were real Feminists.

  37. Sophie Yeo on June 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Also! The suffragist movement in New Zealand (first country to allow women the right to vote) was partly mobilized due to bikes. Women who campaigned for suffrage were known as pedal pushers, and promoted the petitions for women’s rights by cycling around for signatures

  38. Chad McKinney on June 27, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Why the heck isn’t Katie Londonderry more well known?! That’s absolutely amazing!

  39. Zeeshan Yousafzai on June 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    To think the little things have such an impact on the individual and the society as a whole, yet we let our, so called, "democratic" governments control our every little part of life now!

  40. wassim.sghaier on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Feminists: Female=Male
    Feminazis that pretend to be feminists and what gave us the picture of feminism: Female>>>>male

  41. conroyale1 on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    And then in 1920, women spearheaded prohibition. So was it really worth it?

  42. DangerZone on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Yeah everything is about america

  43. Vicky Jones on June 27, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    "Bicycle face." Heh.

  44. Maria Manvelian on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Very Interesting!

  45. Morty Sanchez on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    women’s garments shall not be bifurcated!

  46. Ric Trexell on June 27, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Just could not put this video together without saying a word that needed to be bleeped. Also, used the word ‘suck’ which of course refers to a sexual act.

  47. MakinaDeMuerte on June 27, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Oh… Now I know why cops stop me while riding my bike. #toomuchboost

  48. Daisy R. on June 27, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    most man are stupid feeling upset bc woman wear pants 1800
    we are stuck in the 1800

  49. witch, please on June 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Men also were concerned that women would get sexual stimulation from Bicycle and become unsatisfatied with their husbands performance in the bedroom lmao

  50. Zoe Young on June 27, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    possibility encounter episode find hostage balance wife locate elementary garlic even observe slave.