A Wheel Within a Wheel: How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle, with Some Reflections by the Way

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Woman's Temperance Publishing Association, 1895 - BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY - 75 pages
For many people, riding a bicycle is one of their fondest childhood memories. In this memoir, American suffragist Frances Elizabeth Willard recounts her experiences learning to ride a bicycle. After a suffering a series of personal tragedies and hearing of the joys of bicycle riding from her male peers, Willard decided to teach herself to ride. She believed women were just as capable as men were, and she wanted to experience all the joys that riding a bicycle afforded men. Throughout the book, Willard documents the process she went through in order to learn to ride. She details the trials she experienced in attempting to ride a bicycle in a dress, offering humorous anecdotes about her bike riding lessons. Additionally, photographs of Willard's lessons bring her stories to life in this inspiring book. Wheel Within a Wheel: How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle is perfect for anyone wishing to remember what it is like to learn to ride a bike.
 

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Page 41 - England in his teens would not outlive the complete mastery of the outdoor arts in which his sister is now successfully engaged. The old fables, myths, and follies associated with the idea of woman's incompetence to handle bat and oar, bridle and rein, and at last the cross-bar of the bicycle, are passing into contempt in presence of the nimbleness, agility, and skill of "that boy's sister"; indeed, we felt that if she continued to improve after the fashion of the last decade her physical achievements...
Page 73 - The bicycle, however, meets all the conditions and will ere long come within the reach of all. Therefore, in obedience to the laws of health, I learned to ride. I also wanted to help women to a wider world, for I hold that the more interests women and men can have in common, in thought, word, and deed, the happier will it be for the home.
Page 25 - This was not the lesson of a day, but of many days and weeks, and it had to be learned before we could get on well together. To my mind the infelicities of which we see so much in life grow out of lack of time and patience thus to study and adjust the natures that have agreed in the sight of God and man to stand by one another to the last. They will not take the pains, they have not enough specific gravity, to balance themselves in their new environment. Indeed, I found a whole philosophy of life...
Page 39 - If they do this many prejudices as to what they may be allowed to wear will melt away. Reason will gain upon precedent, and ere long the comfortable, sensible, and artistic wardrobe of the rider will make the conventional style of woman's dress absurd to the eye and unendurable to the understanding. A reform often advances most rapidly by indirection. An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory; and the graceful and becoming costume of woman on the bicycle will convince the world that has brushed...
Page 40 - We discoursed on the advantage to masculine character of comradeship with women who were as skilled and ingenious in the manipulation of the swift steed as they themselves. We contended that whatever diminishes the sense of superiority in men makes them more manly, brotherly...
Page 72 - If I am asked to explain why I learned the bicycle I should say I did it as an act of grace, if not of actual religion. The cardinal doctrine laid down by my physician was, " Live out of doors and take congenial exercise...
Page 75 - Consider, ye who are of a considerable chronology: in about thirteen hundred minutes, or, to put it more mildly, in twenty-two hours, or, to put it most mildly of all, in less than a single day as the almanac reckons time — but practically in two days of actual practice — amid the delightful surroundings of the great outdoors, and inspired by the bird-songs, the color and fragrance of an English posy-garden, in the company of devoted and pleasant comrades, I had made myself master of the most...
Page 38 - We rejoiced together greatly in perceiving the impetus that this uncompromising but fascinating and illimitably capable machine would give to that blessed "woman question" to which we were both devoted; for we had earned our own bread many a year, and she, although more than twenty years my junior, had accumulated an amount of experience well-nigh as great, because she had lived in the world's heart...
Page 38 - We saw that the physical development of humanity's mother-half would be wonderfully advanced by that universal introduction of the bicycle sure to come about within the next few years, because it is for the interest of great commercial monopolies that this should be so, since if women patronize the wheel the number of buyers will be twice as large. If women ride they must, when riding, dress more rationally than they have been wont to do.
Page 55 - ... out-door air; is entirely under control; can be made as gentle or as vigorous as one desires; is active and not passive; takes the rider out of himself and the thoughts and cares of his daily work; develops his will, his attention, courage, and independence, and makes pleasant what is otherwise often most irksome; moreover, the exercise is well and equally distributed over almost the whole body, and, as Parkes says, when all the muscles are exercised, no muscle is likely to be over-exercised.

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