Bicycle Face

In case you’re unaware back in the 19th century Bicycle Face was diagnosed as a dangerous health condition by doctors. Of course we now know that’s bogus.

However what doctors back then totally missed was the face that came before Bicycle Face:

Bicycle Face

If you ask me Ennui Face was the real health scare for women. No wonder what came next was a real shock.

Bicycle Face

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19 Responses to “Bicycle Face”

  • Randal

    One of my friends at the shop posted this so I posted the link for your original bikeyface post! Guess I’ve gotta post this one, too! Love your work!

  • Every now and then I get it more and more. You go girls.

  • YJ

    We’re all ill. ;)

  • Uncle Robot

    Just back from 2 week bike tour of Netherlands – kept getting left in the dust by beautiful women many riding in dresses. One must have been 80 – well, she did have an electric bike. Oh, and then there were the families – mom or dad with kids on front and/or in back. I dream of a USA where bikes out-number cars.

    • Vocus Dwabe

      One of the first things you notice about cycling in Holland is the large numbers of people over 60 – sometimes over 80 – who still go on doing it long after they’d have given up in any other country: or in Britain, probably have been forcibly retired “for their own safety”.

      One statistical trick much used by Vehicular Cycling missionaries in the English-speaking countries is to point out that the Netherlands has about 400 cycling deaths per year – as against 187 last year in the UK – and then scale this up from Holland’s 16 million population to show that…er…basically, having segregated cycle tracks like the Dutch is incredibly bad for you: entirely neglecting to mention that (i) the Dutch make ten times as many daily journeys by bicycle and (ii) that the Dutch statistics include not just deaths from cycling (i.e. road traffic accidents) but also deaths while cycling: which given the large numbers of old people who do it, is bound to include a good number of those who just dropped dead while cycling, felled by a heart attack or a stroke

      …Which – provided it endangered no one else – is the manner in which I would wish to leave this world, if the choice were mine. But, sadly, we have little say in such matters.

      Bikeyface: loved the drawings. The dexterity of your hand is matched only by the acuteness of your observation.

  • hamish

    Veliberation!

  • Dominique

    I love this one! it’s amazing!
    Do you sell prints?

  • From skirts to pants, all because of bicycles. We are women. We are strong. We have bicycle face. We rock!

    Thanks for putting smile on my face. Perfect drawings.

  • Someone here on the bikepgh.com message board dug up this quote from Cosmopolitan (!) magazine, circa 1895:
    The woman who dons her knicker­bockers and her gaiters and spins out into the open country, will find her mind opening to the wonders of sky and air, the beauties of the fields and streams; she will learn to take comfort in the world about her, will find her mind soothed and her spirits uplifted; she will forget troubles and anxieties, real or imaginary; she will become mistress of herself, as of her wheel, no longer a victim to hysterics, no longer seeking for unhealthy excitement, a rational, useful being restored to health and sanity.

  • Mouth partly open and breathing heavily with a smile. No, I’m not having an orgasm but close. I’m on my bike. But I do wore big sunglasses to hide my bulging eyes and the beginnings of dark shadows under them.

  • Vorkorsigan

    I wondered if you saw that link on Twitter, I was hoping you would do something on it.

  • Vocus Dwabe

    Apart perhaps from masturbation, few things more starkly show up the essential idiocy of “expert medical opinion” than the arrant nonsense that’s been written about women and cycling.

    In 1890s Holland, when bicycles were beginning to catch on among the male population, the country’s physicians – all but one of them men – supported by the Dutch Reformed Church were dead-set against women riding bicycles on the entirely evidence-free grounds that contact with the saddle would produce illicit sexual exstasy outside of wedlock, with the result that the polders would soon be littered with Dutchwomen moaning in extra-marital orgasm, many of them no doubt going on to give birth to two-headed calves, children with wheels instead of legs and other such monsters. In the end (the story goes) the main Dutch bicycle manufacturer of those days, Fongers, had to hire two out-of-work male actors to dress up as women and pedal round the platteland dorps in order to show the village women that it waspossible to ride a bicycle without serious risk to their health.

    Even so, I believe that until quite recently there was one extreme-Calvinist village, Staphorst, where women were liable to be stoned if they rode a bicycle.

    There was also one (I think) French invention to preserve female modesty, which was a side-saddle bicycle propelled by working a sort of sewing-machine treadle to one side. It never caught on.

  • NEVER cease to get a great good natured lift and smile when I read bikeyface!!

  • Sam Moody

    Wooh Bikeyface taking on history!!

  • This is such an awesome depiction. I wonder if there was ever such a thing as “car face” when Karl Benz made his first car.

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