“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.” – Munsey’s Magazine, 1896
It was a childhood memory of my ten speed, and summer afternoons exploring the avenues of my youth that led me to a local bike shop and to the acquisition of a new bike. I used my new bike primarily to commute to work, and for short rides around my neighborhood. These short rides grew into longer trips. I discovered in myself the same joy for riding I’d experienced when I was a young girl, and a passion for the sport. Perhaps it was this way for you as well, and most certainly it must have been like that for those first female cyclists when they took to the road all those years ago on the strange, two-wheeled machines. To those early women cyclists the bicycle must not only have been a “steed” but an alien one. And I believe it was the incongruous nature of the machine, so extraordinary as it was, that provided the hope for freedom, the means for exploration, and a device for discovery and journey. I wonder if it isn’t true that it is only the new and strange that can do this for us, allowing us the excuse to cast off the mantel of social restraint, as if it were the will of this strange new machine and not the rider who was responsible. Much like those early cyclists the bike has always been for me a means for exploration and discovery, and a way to experience travel.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be packing up my steed for a 10-day bicycle journey from Hamilton, MT to Seattle, WA on abandoned railway and long forgotten roads. I’ve never done a trip like this. I have no idea what I’ll experience, or how I’ll get through the experience. I’m looking forward to sharing that journey with you and hope you’ll share your bicycling journey with me. Wherever the road takes you, it’s bound to be a wondrous journey.
#WHERETHEROADENDS // #WHEREWILLYOUGO
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