Read How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle: Reflections of an Influential 19th Century Woman by Frances E. Willard Online

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In 1893 Frances Willard was at the height of her power and influence as leader of the women's social reform movement. It was also a time when bicycles were wildly popular. And so, when her doctor recommended she exercise out-of-doors, Willard was determined to learn to ride. It was not easy for a woman in her fifty-third year, hampered by long skirts, but she was eager forIn 1893 Frances Willard was at the height of her power and influence as leader of the women's social reform movement. It was also a time when bicycles were wildly popular. And so, when her doctor recommended she exercise out-of-doors, Willard was determined to learn to ride. It was not easy for a woman in her fifty-third year, hampered by long skirts, but she was eager for the challenge. She hoped her example would help other women seek "a wider world." She saw cycling as a way for women to gain independence, develop confidence, and be seen by men as equals in skill. A best-seller when originally published a century ago, Willard's fascinating account of her adventure continues to enchant and inspire readers today. An introduction by Edith Mayo, curator of political history at the Smithsonian Institution, describes the life and work of Frances Willard and her role as an early leader of the women's movement. The book concludes with an illustrated essay on the history of women and cycling....

Title : How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle: Reflections of an Influential 19th Century Woman
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780933271050
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 104 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle: Reflections of an Influential 19th Century Woman Reviews

  • Maureen Dubreuil
    2019-03-29 08:40

    This 80-page gem summarizes the experiences of Frances Willard's cycling education. Having started at the age of 53, in a society that didn't particularly support womens' riding, Ms. Willard certainly faced some obstacles. She put her mind to it, and with the help of apparently many teachers and 15 minutes of practice daily, mastered the 'saucy steed'. As a modern day reader, this account is funny in that it takes 80 pages to describe something I completely take for granted (having learned when I was a child). However, the real value of the book lies in understanding how instrumental the bike was in history, particularly in liberating women from constrictive clothing and the constant requirement for chaperones (because on a bike, women were too fast for chaperones to keep up with). Ms. Willard's involvement in the temperance movement is also referenced in this work, an important aspect of history as well, in that it demonstrates one of the earliest womens' political movements in the US.

  • Nicole
    2019-03-25 09:44

    Bicycles and rational dress were a major influence on freeing women to participate in more strenuous social activities. Cycling though gave women the freedom to move at will unlike any other sport they participated in. The difficulty though lay in learning to ride. The wheels then did not coast, they were fixed gear only. Imagine attempting to learn to ride a machine the pedals always turn while the machine is in motion. These means ankles will be struck if not lifted quickly yet they are hampered by yards of cloth skirt. Ms Willard mentions that it took her nor more than some 30 hours to master mounting, starting and stopping unaided but then she grew up handling long skirts.

  • Kate
    2019-04-04 13:23

    The will is the wheel of the mind.

  • Boszka
    2019-04-17 11:26

    I had to use a dictionary to fully understand the part written by Frances E. Willard (it includes some fancy words) but it was well worth it. The story is positively inspiring (Willard learned riding the bicycle when she was 53 and when it was still a controversial thing to do for women). Her personality (her kindness, enthusiasm, and hardihood) comes through. The commentaries included in the book provide a historical and biographical context and make it much easier to understand the personal story.Also, I loved the photographs.

  • Lucy
    2019-03-31 09:25

    This slim volume by early feminist, educator, and temperance advocate Frances Willard is so much more than a treatise on how to learn to ride a bicycle. This is a book I think I should re-read fairly often.

  • Marilyn Geary
    2019-04-19 08:34

    A glimpse of another time, when our "Wheels" were our first taste of freedom.

  • Clark
    2019-03-27 12:45

    I have to start out with this: You just don't hear of people in their 50's learning to ride a bicycle for the first time in their life, but back in the 1880's it was happening all the time. Just another example just how different the times are. This book gives you more perspective on what it was to live back then. I found it very interesting and not boring. Frances was ahead of her times! She was also a slow learner on her bicycle, but that just might be because she started out trying to ride in her 50's. Now days everyone learns to ride a bicycle when they are kids!

  • Heather
    2019-04-04 14:36

    Good for the look into biking, suffrage, and temperance attitudes of a very famous woman for all three. I attempted to live tweet it with #willardbike, but so many of her sentences just don't fit into 144 characters. People were longwinded back in the day. But some good gems. I love that there were things she had to add/emphasize (women should wear realistic clothing! Let's quote a doctor saying biking is ok for women and won't cause their uteri to fall out!) because of the era.

  • Holly
    2019-03-24 15:23

    This was a wonderful book! An older woman decided she needed to get some exercise and so decided to learn to ride. However, this was at a time that it was taboo for a woman to ride such a contraption because it was cause to much..."excitement". It was an easy read, and a wonderful look at Women's lib through a hilarious diversion.

  • Heather
    2019-04-22 10:24

    I chose a this book because of my new interest in the role the bicycle played in the feminist movement of the 1800's. Fun philosophy and wit from at 1890 feminist. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting to envision an adult woman learning to ride a bike with the help of 3 other adults. She analyzes the process like no child ever could.

  • Greta
    2019-04-10 14:23

    Riding a bike takes on tremendous importance late in life for Frances E. Wiliard. Her determination to ride is impressive and not always fun, but she did succeed. Great metaphor of getting yourself out of the gutter, back on the seat and take off.

  • Hannah
    2019-04-12 10:36

    This was great!

  • Siobhan
    2019-04-17 12:26

    Apparently I am the only person on goodreads to read this book...no one else has rated it. Weird and exciting at the same time...

  • Deb
    2019-04-14 09:21

    A small and beautiful book.

  • Lote L.
    2019-04-13 09:31

    Delightful, funny and very, very intelligent. The woman suffrage movement on a bicycle!

  • Jacqueline
    2019-03-27 13:32

    Frances Willard was one of the first women to master riding a bicycle, and this delightful book is the story of how she did it and how it freed her spirit.

  • Karen
    2019-04-02 09:16

    Cspan First Ladies Series: Dolly Madison