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We had a very exciting day in the office today. Nikki has been developing our Bicycle Bloomer Bike Ride for April, (that follows our next public Bicycle Boomer Making Workshop – more details soon!).

She was digging through our project findings and trawling the internet to plot a course around town to match the historical narrative. In the process she discovered some gems.

I’ll let her write about more of them, but this was a stonker!

Nikki stumbled across a photo of Rosina Lane, sister-in-law of Alice Louisa Bygraves, who is one of our key patentees and the designer of the first 1895 cycling dress we made.

What is unique about this skirt is that it is ‘convertible’  – Alice ingeniously built into the design a range of pulleys, waxed cord, rings, channels and eyelets to gather the front and the back of the skirt up high, to get it out of the way of the chainring and wheels. Pretty awesome stuff.

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Check Rosina out.

She OWN’s that frock – and that diamond frame bike.

And, if that’s not enough, it turns out that Rosina Lane was a professional cyclist.

Excited is not the word.

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DSCN9923This is Rachel and I looking pretty happy with the discovery.

It is fascinating to see the patented dress in a photo. We have patent illustrations and advertisements when it was distributed by Jaeger and also some editorial visuals from The Queen and Lady Cyclist periodicals. But a photo….. is something else. Especially, one that shows the innovative skirt in full glory! And with a diamond frame bike, which really points to its efficacy.

Also, the tailoring of the jacket is pretty interesting. The sleeves are not insignificant (!) and it appears from the streamlined nature of the waist that Rosina might have been wearing a corset, at least a cycling corset.

Who says archival research is boring!

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