Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies

Committee Chair

Theriot, Nancy M.

Author's Keywords

Feminism; Cycling; Women's rights; Women's history; Bicycling; Sport


Cycling--Social aspects--United States; Cycling--United States--History--19th century; Women's rights--United States--History--19th century; Feminism--United States--History--19th century


Responding to research gaps in both cycling and women's rights history, the purpose of my thesis is to investigate conceptualizations of cycling in the 1890's suffrage press. I analyze six aspects of cycling in suffrage periodicals: advice and tips to women cyclists; dress reform and women's cycling; women's cycling clubs; health, medicine and exercise; travel and touring; and cycling among anti-suffrage women reformers. I argue cycling and women's rights activism should not be framed as separate aspects of women's lives in the 1890's, but joint practices that influenced and informed the other. Suffrage press authors did not view cycling as mere recreation, but located it within the broader context of women's political activism and social reform. To the women cyclists who contributed to the suffrage press, cycling was ultimately a meaningful and practical way they could challenge Victorian gender constructs and implement women's rights ideology in their everyday lives.