One of the first reviews of the book came out in Emma R Chesworth’s blog. She is a journalist and feminist activist and was involved in The Eighth Plinth campaign to help secure Middlesbrough’s first female statue. So, I was very pleased that she took an interest in the book and wrote a delightful review of it. Thanks Emma!
Here are some very nice snippets from her longer piece:
“Bikes and Bloomers entwines invention, sewing and some frankly badass women who refused to wait patiently for the organic change which would allow them to venture more into the public sphere – they went out to drive the social change.”
“Conventional women’s clothing made cycling not only incredibly difficult but also potentially life threatening due to flowing, multiple layers of skirts getting caught not only by the cycle itself, but also passing carriages.”
“So, in the late 19th Century, women, and some men, took it upon themselves to challenge the status quo and create not only clothing but also liberation for the many women who wished to take to two wheels and expand their world.”
“The ingenuity of the clothes designs is jaw dropping. Convertible costumes were heavily patented during this period. They allowed women to convey an outward appearance of ‘normal’ dress until getting on her cycle. An elaborate, hidden, system of ‘weights and pulleys, waxed cords, stitched channels, hooks, loops and buttoning systems’ converted skirts into capes and gathered material out of the way of wheels. ‘Adaptable gusset action’ was also part of a patent for an ‘Improved Cycling Skirt’.”
“Bikes and Bloomers is a glorious book – not just for those who enjoy cycling but for anyone who wants to learn more about the wonderful women who were brave, inventive, sisterly and political. As is too often the case, women are erased from the history books and their achievements not recognised. Kat’s meticulous research and writing rights that wrong.”