Bicycling advanced the cause of women's rights in many important ways in the nineteenth century.In the late 1800's, for women, the bicycle stood for freedom from victorian dress and from everything that was supposed to stand for womanhood at the time.
The mere act of learning to ride was liberating, as the trick of balance had been something that many thought too difficult or just unsuitable for a woman.The bicycle was a rich man's toy. But women began to show the men they weren't so special.
In 1896, the top endurance bicyclist in the state of Colorado was identified only as Mrs. A. E. Rinehart. Mrs. Rinehart rode almost twenty thousand miles during the year, including one-hundred-twenty separate rides of at least one hundred miles, and set the state record for the two hundred mile distance.Pretty soon the bicycle became a symbol of the women's suffrage movement according to Susan B. Anthony in one of her famous speeches.
She said that the bicycle "had done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world" and that a female on a bike was "the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."