1895 OVERLAND MAGAZINE: A MODERN CENTAUR

People that have never attempted to ride a wheel, but can hold themselves pretty well on a horse, sometimes burst out that it is not artistic, and that it looks like a mechanical monkey. A bicycle rider looks as trim as a horseman. His body tightly enclosed in a woolen sweater of good quality and pattern, a loose fitting coat trimmed with braid, a pair of knickerbockers, not too baggy, and heavy woolen stockings that fit well, a pair of low shoes and a cap to match the colour of the coat; strong riding gloves are sure to add to the beauty of this costume. A belt is sometimes worn and gives a sort of military look to the wearer.

The ladies have taken up riding with a zest. Their costumes differ but little from those of the male rider, and many are certainly very becoming. Riding a bicycle is not more injurious than running a sewing machine. It certainly strengthens the muscles, and the little over exertion performed by the legs is more than counter-balanced by the good results arising from exercise in the open air.

Many persons are afraid to try to ride a bicycle, thus depriving themselves of this agreeable exercise. It is far less difficult to ride, than it is to gather courage to try it.

Language evolves constantly, with each generation adding to our vocabulary. I enjoy the flourish of 1890s language, itself emboldended by a new-found freedom of expression as magazines became widely available for the first time. With so many new journals, ordinary folks started to write articles, many sharing their cycling experiences. This 1895 article tells us the story of cycling’s evolution.

 

OVERLAND MAGAZINE, August 1895

A MODERN CENTAUR: A Chapter on Bicycles