The Scottish Cyclist and the New Woman: Representations of Female Cyclists in Scotland, 1890–1914

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Abstract

In the 1890s British women witnessed a ‘cycling craze’ that had the potential to enhance the health and physical freedom of many women. This article examines the cycling craze from a Scottish perspective by investigating representations of Scottish female cyclists in a weekly magazine first printed in Glasgow in 1888 entitled The Scottish Cyclist. Despite suggestions that the popularity of cycling faltered after the initial ‘cycling-craze’ of the mid-1890s, perusal of The Scottish Cyclist suggests that a number of Scottish women continued to cycle beyond the years of this initial craze, thus eventually helping to make the cycling woman a familiar sight in Scottish society. This article argues that whilst by 1914 the cycling woman clad in ‘rational dress’ was no longer a key symbol of emancipation, still the determination of female cyclists in Scotland had contributed to the physical emancipation of women, giving them access to greater independence, mobility, and physical freedom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-91
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Scottish Historical Studies
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Gender
  • sport
  • cycling
  • history
  • feminism
  • New Woman

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