Join us on Thursday, February 20 and hear about extraordinary women cyclists from the 1890s to the 1940s! Women have been using bicycles as tools for both adventure and social liberation for 150 years, but the individual stories are little known. Using historical photographs and hand-drawn illustrations, Tessa Hulls shines a light on a cohort of adventurers who took to their bikes and knocked down gender barriers, starting in an era when women weren't allowed to vote or own property.
From a stunt cyclist clearing 45-foot jumps in 1903 to proto-bikepackers crossing the Swiss alps in Victorian dress, the people highlighted in this talk accomplished incredible feats on two wheels. Beyond that, they used the freedom they found through cycling to fight for the expansion of gender rights. These pioneering cyclists were also state senators, aviators, doctors, mechanics, and sportswriters.
Tessa concludes with some insights into the scene today. As she sees it, these indomitable early adventurers are the precursors of the current generation of women, trans, femme, and gender non-binary cyclists who are using bicycles to push for broader horizons.
Tessa Hulls is a multidisciplinary artist/writer/researcher/adventurer who is equally likely to disappear into a library or the wilderness. Tessa became hopelessly addicted to bicycle travel on a 2011 solo tour from southern California to Maine, and her two-wheeled wanderings have led her all over the continental US, plus swaths of Alaska, Ghana, Cuba, and Mexico. She fuses her love of bike exploration with her creative practice as a freelance specialist on the deep history of rugged femininity, and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, the Rumpus, and Atlas Obscura's Kickass Women series.
We hope you can join us on Thursday, February 20! Doors will open at 6pm to give you a chance to enjoy refreshments and see our 1890s-turn of the 20th century "Ladies' Model" bikes, plus selections from our collection of 1890s print materials by and about women cyclists. Tessa's talk will begin at 7:30.