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Bicycles make their debut

June 23, 2014
By Ellayne Conyers , Marshall Independent

Back in 1889, about a million cyclists relied on bikes for social entertainment as well as a quick way to get out of town, according to author Robert A. Smith in "A Social History of the Bicycle" (1972). Organized by the League of American Wheelman, cyclists lobbied Congress for road improvement and paved the way for automobiles (and highway taxes). Women riders shed their corsets and long skirts for bloomers. Many women cyclists were considered amoral because bikes lured them from the front porch and away from chaperones. The popularity of cycling contributed to social controversy about the "new woman," because women now had a practical reason for wearing bloomers, baggy trousers or pantaloons.



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