A history of women and their bicycles
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What a Ride!1 of 13
In honor of the bike's 206th birthday (it was patented on June 26, 1819), we're taking a look back at how women have wheeled their way through the past two centuries.
Skirting the Issue2 of 13
Thanks to the bicycle, women's fashion was pushed forward, with the invention of the split-skirt, a precursor to modern culottes, in the mid 1800s. Of course, it would still be another 50 years before the corset was abandoned, but the wheels were set in motion.
Pedal Power3 of 13
In 1894, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky set off on a 15-month bike ride around the world—with a few boat passages to get from continent to continent. Later known as Annie Londonderry (after the Londerry Lithia Water Company, which sponsored her solo trip), the mother of three children went on to write for a New York paper and declared herself "'a new woman,' if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do."
On a Roll4 of 13
By the 1920s, women had won the right to vote and the bicycle (including this innovative cycle-pram combo) helped give them access to a life outside the home.
Off We Go5 of 13
Nothing like biking with friends. In 1940, movie star Rita Hayworth (center) joined pals for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood.
Hot Pursuit6 of 13
In ...And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot made riding a bike downright seductive. A buttoned pencil-skirt offered just enough freedom to pedal unhindered.
Two for the Road7 of 13
In 1956, Marilyn Monroe and then husband Arthur Miller took a side-by-side romantic roll through a London park.
Basket Case8 of 13
Audrey Hepburn's pooch Mr. Famous got a free ride, while the actress pedaled around set in the early '60s.
Cruise Control9 of 13
Known for her athleticism, Katharine Hepburn put her feet up and showed off her bike-riding skills in 1967.
Full Speed Ahead10 of 13
The always-stylish Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a pro at getting around New York City (and dodging paparazzi) on two wheels.
Free Wheeling11 of 13
In the 2010 movie Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts' character discovers bike-riding during her soul-searching journey abroad.
Joy Ride12 of 13
Wearing a full skirt and flats, Zooey Deschanel embraces the retro-inspired cycle-chic look.
Fashion Statement13 of 13
Wheels on the catwalk? Yes, the bike has officially arrived, making its fashion debut in London last year.