Are you aware, gentle reader, that the bicycle is closely associated with women’s liberation, the suffragettes, and other forms of late 19th century promiscuity and other offensive behaviors among the fair sex? Or that a truly rideable modern velocipede machine post-dates practical flying machines? Warning – a little tasteful nudity ahead.
Oh! Those suffragettes. They appear to be incorrigible once they have unbridled transport.
Bicycling was the final straw, so to speak, giving women the excuse to wear (godforbid) trousers, freedom to travel, shop, and generally sever the ties that kept them at home in a modern world. I am digressing and that will require and entirely separate post, but to the wonderful Waverley Belle…
The following immensely popular sales announcement (to judge by the frequency with which it is displayed) is from a different era of madmen advertisers. I suspect this titillating placard was intended for a gentleman’s magazine; to be perused at the club or in the office, out of sight from young, impressionable eyes. I mean, who wants their kid lusting after a seductive beauty at this price? This ad is clearly appealing to those who are looking get a well-built machine under them with the intent to while away a glorious afternoon.
Go away kids, get your own toys. She is certainly a superbly constructed beauty comprised of artistic lines and I suspect, is a wonderful ride indeed. The Victorians clearly appreciated a larger, sturdy frame. Of course, this one is mostly obscured by the lovely lady acting as a prop (these high-wheelers often had no kickstand you see).
Waverly (of the Indiana Bicycle Company) seems to have been a high-end and innovative company venturing into automobiles in the heady days of innovation before the Great War in Europe.
These Indiana boys were not just catering to the men. In fact, it seems they seem to be early schemers in the arena of target marketing; catering to the tastes of ladies and gentlemen alike from Indianapolis, Indiana to Medford, Oregon and beyond (e.g., France). These high-end beauties are a bit on the light-heavyweight side compared to our current tastes but are remarkably robust machines offering sturdiness and a joyful ride for a new and modern age.
Innovation was the by-word in Industrialized America and Waverley was in the game. Here’s a couple other, family oriented offerings they produced; not bicycles though.
Anyway, I needed to get some of this curated artwork out into the world and my love of cycling has grown inversely to the amount that my current living situation allows it to actually happen without misery, pain, or more likely death.
Below are some gratuitous images of the state of the world once women gain their mobility, trousers, and the right to vote. Bicycles have been associate with modern thinking, fun, liberation, and even sexual freedom for a long time now. Enjoy these immodest pictures.
And finally, while doing a bit of late-night image research to establish a firm date for the ad above, I came across the original image used for the Waverley Poster:
It doesn’t appear to be a particularly practical outfit for cycling. Must be French. I hope to get a load of other images from the era posted in the near future.
Interesting submissions are always welcome
I am pining for the day soon ahead when the freedom of cycling will be back in my life.