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.
- New Woman