How the Autonomous Mobility of the Bicycle Empowered Women to Speak Up for Equal Rights

In a very insightful video essay, Vox producer Dean Peterson recounted the history of the penny farthing, the invention of the safety bicycle, the concerns about women riding such vehicles, the restrictive, non-bicycle friendly clothing of the time, the brave woman answered a man’s challenge to ride bicycle around the world and how the newly acquired autonomous mobility of the bicycle empowered women to speak up for themselves. In doing so, Peterson spoke with subject matter expert Sue Macy, whose book “Wheels of Change“, goes into further detail about “women’s history from aboard a bicycle”.

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.’