Don’t [go] without a needle, thread and thimble


Last night I promised I would write about something else which I came across while looking up Bicycle Face. The list typed out clearly below was published and can be seen (less clearly) in Newspaper Oswego Palladium May-Aug 1895 – 0593.

Don’ts for women riders

Don’t be a fright. 

Don’t faint on the road.

Don’t wear a man’s cap.

Don’t wear tight garters.

Don’t forget your tool bag.

Don’t attempt a “century.” 

Don’t coast. It is dangerous.  (But fun!)

Don’t boast of your long rides.

Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”

Don’t wear loud hued leggings.

Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”

Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.

Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.

Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.

Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.

Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.

Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.

Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.

Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.

Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.

Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.

Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.

Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.

Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?

Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.

Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.

Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble.

Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”

Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.

Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you.

Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.

Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.

Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.

Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labour.

Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.

Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”

Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.

Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because you ride a wheel.

Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.

Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.

Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty. 

Read more at: Total Womens Cycling

Having read through each of these I believe that I only contravene 20, although admittedly there are several that I don’t understand (for instance does “Don’t be a fright” mean “Don’t go out looking ugly” or “Don’t be a wimp”?) and a few of them appear to be totally irrelevant to the modern day. I think that the simple act of writing this blog, violates at least four of the rules; 

  • Don’t boast about your long rides
  • Don’t use bicycle slang
  • Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know (what about female urinating devices?)
  • Don’t appear to be up on records and record smashing

I’ve highlighted, in bold, those statements which amused me or seemed particularly relevant and I am sure from reading previous posts you will understand why. But there is one point which really stands out to me, and that is “Don’t attempt a century”– oops, sorry chaps of the 19th century!

And finally, as crazy as it might seem, I am confident that I know of two ladies who do actually take their needle, thread and thimble with them on their bicycles! Liza and Mum both cycle to the Dressability office; they often take work home and have things which they then need to transport back into the office. 

Laura’s midnight message:  Stop fainting on the roads, and scaring the cows ladies – it’s not becoming.


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