Tour de France countdown: 3

In honour of the coming of the Tour de France to Cambridge on 7th July, the Special Collections blog will feature a daily image from one of the Library’s early books on cycling in the week leading up to the big day.  Many carry eye-catching illustrated covers, showing early bicycles and pioneering lady cyclists, and are an important resource for the study of early cycling in Britain.  Most came to the Library in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, under the Copyright Act, and live in the Tower.  We hope you enjoy the display!

Cycling manual: all about cycles and cycling in simple language
(London: [?1917])
“There is no road royal to cycling efficiency and ease. Every rider has to follow the same path; and those who show the most painstaking regard for their machines…will inevitably reap the reward…” (preface)
(Shelfmark: 1917.6.485)

One comment

  • Patricia Killiard

    I am enjoying the Tour de France-related image series. One thing that isn’t often appreciated is the role bicycles played in emancipating women. Although they were extremely expensive in the early days they were cheaper than cars and did at least provide some women with an independent mode of transport that didn’t require a horse or a male coach driver. Formidable women covered astonishing distances considering that they were riding ordinaries (penny farthings as they were later known) on rough roads, sometimes on a daily basis, into towns and cities from the villages.

    Bicycle riding also contributed to the development of less cumbersome clothing for women because it was impossible to ride in the full skirts and underclothes of the Edwardian era. Early women riders wore “rational dress”, which was considered scandalous but eventually caught on.

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