Bike riding would seem to be a task of enormous complexity and physical dexterity for birds not to mention totally inferior to their natural ability to fly. At least they don’t have to worry about the niceties of bike-riding etiquette. The list of Do’s and Don’ts of bike riding below was published in the New York World, a popular newspaper of 1895. With this list as their guide, women could pedal with impunity and not be an embarrassment to their gender. Ladies, know your limits!
Here’s the list:
- Don’t be a fright.
- Don’t faint on the road.
- Don’t wear a man’s cap.
- Don’t wear tight garters.
- Don’t forget your toolbag
- Don’t attempt a “century.”
- Don’t coast. It is dangerous.
- Don’t boast of your long rides.
- Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”
- Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
- Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”
- Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
- Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
- Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.
- Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.
- Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.
- Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
- Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
- Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
- Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
- Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
- Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
- Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
- Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
- Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
- Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
- Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble.
- Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
- Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
- Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you
- Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
- Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
- Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
- Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor (sic).
- Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
- Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
- Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
- Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because yon ride a wheel.
- Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
- Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
- Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.
My favourites are ‘Don’t cultivate a bicycle face’ and ‘Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels”‘.
I HAD to try to find out what a ‘bicycle face’ was and came across this:… bicycle face, according to the display, was one of the “allegedly possible ailments” of riding a bike. Anti-bicyclists of the time claimed it was “the product of excessive worry over maintaining balance while riding.”
So, I know WHAT it is but cannot imagine the expression. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a medical journal of the time depicting a series of faces and expressions showing the full spectrum of the disorder?
On that note, I have a small set of digi brushes for you aptly called ‘Birds on Bikes’.
Register to download and have fun with them – but don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys. Ok?!
Have a great day