Bicycling: Not Just For Men Anymore

We’re thrilled to have bestselling author Mary Davis this week. She’s written over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary inspirational romances. Please show her a warm welcome.

 

“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. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” Susan B. Anthony.

The safety bicycle gave women independence like nothing else. A lady who had a bicycle could go places that were too far to walk without being dependent on a man to either take her or hitch up a buggy for her.

Before 1890 bicycles were more of a novelty and a challenge rather than a legitimate mode of transportation. They were hard to ride, hard to get on, and hard to steer.

The first vehicle that could really be classified as a bicycle was invented in 1817. Also known as a running machine, velocipede, Draisienne, or dandy horse. It had two same-sized wheels and no pedals. A man would straddle it, sitting on the seat, and use his feet to propel himself and the velocipede forward. I say “man” because this was not a machine suitable for ladies in dresses.

The 1863 Velocipede had steel wheels but had the improvement of pedals on the front wheel—direct drive, fixed gear, and a single speed. This version was popularly known as the boneshaker because that’s what it did on the cobblestone roads of the day—shake your bones.

In 1870 came the Ordinary or Penny Farthing also known as the “high wheeler.” That’s the one with the huge front wheel and the tiny back wheel. The inventors realized that a larger wheel meant you could go farther with one revolution. The pedals on the front wheel made steering a challenge because while pushing one pedal and then the next, it could make the front wheel veer one way and then the other. But the solid rubber tires and long spokes made for a much smoother ride than its predecessors. Not only was this one difficult to get up on because it was so high, but the rider was often above the center of gravity. If they hit a rock that stopped the front tire, over they would go onto their head. This is where the term “taking a header” came from. This was the first to be called a bicycle.

Over the next two decades, the inventions of the ball bearings, caliper brakes, chain drive, pneumatic tires, and improvements in metallurgy all contributed to the 1890 safety bicycle. This bicycle most closely resembles the bicycles of today. Two same-sized tires, pedals in the center of the vehicle rather than on a wheel, chain driven, inflatable tires, and a lever hand brake. The chain drive revolutionized the bicycle. With the safety bicycle, women gained an independence like they’d never had before.

Not only women in the cities, but women out west embraced the freedom the bicycle afforded them. Not all women thought bicycles were fitting for women, finding it too brash and unladylike.

In THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT, Isabelle, the heroine, enjoys the freedom her safety bicycle gives her. Even though some people don’t think it’s appropriate for a young lady and too bold. But each of her suitors are modern men who find her eccentricity endearing.

 

MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is the author of (Book 1 in the Quilting Circle series), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in the MISSadventure Brides Collection, “Holly & Ivy”  in A Bouquet of Brides Collection, The Prodigal Daughters series from Love Inspired, and Newlywed Games. Coming in 2019, The Daughter’s Predicament (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series) and “Bygones” in Thimbles and Threads. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

 

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THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series)

Can a patient love win her heart?

   As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle–always the unfavored daughter–becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love.

   Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision. A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer. Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?

Have you or do you enjoy riding a bicycle? Maybe you’ve had a few misadventures. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for one Kindle copy of The Daughter’s Predicament.

 

Guest Blogger

10 Comments

  1. I do have a bicycle in my building but haven’t rode it in years. I got it and then was worried about the traffic on the streets and also afraid of wrecking the bike and these old bone break easy anymore so its parked in the building. I do have an exercise bike in the house though but it so boring to ride. You ride and never go anywhere.

    1. Quilt Lady, I’m with you. I don’t ride a bicycle anymore. As a child, I loved riding my bike. I rode all over the place, miles from home. But as an adult, I find them very uncomfortable and worry about traffic and such. And unless I had a TV show to watch while riding a stationary one, I’d probably fall off from boredom. =0)

  2. Avatar

    What ag reat post! I learned so much. I am thinking of getting a bicycle.

    1. I loved learning new things about bicycles. Bicycles can be a great way to exercise and to get around. If you do get a bicycle, have fun on it and be safe. =0)

  3. Welcome to the Junction, Mary. What a great blog. I truly enjoyed reading about the history behind the bicycle. How much fun to have a heroine riding one in your book. Again, thanks for coming to the Junction. Big Texas hugs, Phyiss

  4. Thanks, Phyliss. I’m enjoying my visit. Isabelle was the perfect heroine to have on two wheels.

  5. This is some fascinating history on the bicycle. I used to ride a bicycle all the time. Now, not possible. I love this book cover. And the blurb sounds so interesting and fun. I would love to read this book.

    1. I love finding interesting tidbits about ordinary things. It’s fun and sheds new light on common things/

  6. Thank you for this fascinating post! I’d love to go bike riding in Colorado.

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you for stopping by, and have fun riding!

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