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.
You’ll find that quotation, along with tons of fascinating tidbits about the early history of women and bicycling, in Sue Macy’s new book Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way).
It’s a freewheeling and fun tour of the surprisingly powerful effect bicycles had on a women’s position in society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Take a look at a few of the images from the book.