Bicycles Gave Women Independence
The invention of the bicycle spawned a new-found independence for women: transport, pants and ultimately, health and fitness.
In the 1800s, morning spins became all the rage in Parisian high society. For the first time, fashion designers started creating less restrictive clothing for women so that they could ride. Enter the bloomers: a symbol of independence for some and rebellion for others.
It also meant for the first time that women could ‘get places’ that were too far to walk to, especially if they didn’t have money for horses, carriages and then cars.
The Fitness Revolution
Nowadays sweaty, muddy selfies flood instagram as women around the globe show off their strength, resilience, technical skills and sexy, toned butts clad in lycra. More and more women have taken up cycling and particularly mountain biking as a new hobby and sport.
In congested cities such as Cape Town, residents have sold their cars and opted to commute by bike. Why?
1/ Parking is so expensive and there’s hardly any of it.
2/ The waste time spent in traffic.
3/ The cost of owning a vehicle, plsu insurance, plus petrol.
4/ The desire to lead a healthy, fitter, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
5/ The increase of cycling lanes and cycling-friendly neighborhoods.
Why Celebrate The Bicycle now?
Here are pointers directly from the UN:
1/ The bicycle is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation.
2/ The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, health care and sport.
3/ The synergy between the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment.
4/ The bicycle is a symbol of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.
Here’s What Else Cycling Can Do For You
1/ Cycling is a great sport for those new to fitness. Why? “It’s a lot easier on the muscles,” explains Prof David Nieman of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory. He also says it’s especially beneficial if you have a significant amount of weight to lose and if you have knee or back issues.
2/ It’ll give you awesome legs! Cycling uses your glutes, quads and hamstrings, which overall increase your leg strength and improve your mobility at your hip joint. Plus, let’s be honest: calves.
3/ Cycling helps build endurance. “Cycling is sustained stamina training because you can keep going for linger,” says cycling coach Matt Parker. In fact, it’s great cross-training for runners. “Road biking allows you to do more work with less strain on the body,” says Petra Kilian Gehring.
4/ It’s a great way to meet people and get involved in community. #CoffeeRide
Ready To Commute? Gear Up The Right Way!
Even though our towns and cities are becoming more cycling friendly, it’s important to make sure you create as much awareness around you as possible when riding on the roads.Here’s what to invest in:
1/ Good-quality lights (front and back!), such as the Trek Bontrager Flare R Light. “I ride with these lights day and night. It can be seen from over two kilometers away,” says pro cyclist Abbey-Mae Parkinson.
2/ Helmet – without question!
3/ Reflective riding gear. To protect your bum and make sure you’re easily seen my cars.
4/ A good commuting cycling bag, like the Targus Work + Play Cycling Laptop Backpack – Black, R1 999 (as seen in the pic above). I’ve used this many times as it can store all my cycling kit while I’m at work and vice versa. Plus it has a special helmet clipping section in front and reflective stripes for safety during your commute. It’s also got tons of different compartments, making it a truly unique and useful laptop-meets-work-meets-sport backpack. PS – it has ventilated padding to help with those shvitzy rides and a pull-over rain protector in case you get caught in a little downpour.
5/ Cycling gloves. It may seem silly and unnecessary, but I’ve fallen on tar before and the gloves SAVED my hands from being cut up. Totally worth it. Also, your digits won’t feel the freeze in winter.