Book cover.“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” — Susan B. Anthony, 1896How important was the bicycle in changing the role of women in the world? Consider these words from Munsey’s Magazine in 1896:

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.