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1897 advertisement for Elliman’s Universal Embrocation. Image taken from here, an interesting post on women and cycling during the Victorian era.
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Above: A 1900 Raleigh Gents Crossframe Bicycle.
In 1870 a bright young lawyer by the name of Frank Bowden accepted a sought-after position dealing in real estate, stocks, and shares in Hong Kong. His time in Hong Kong proved to be successful and after 15 years Bowden was sitting on a well rounded fortune. But, in order to earn that fortune Bowden sacrificed his health and eventually returned to England to take advantage of better medical care and to slow down. Unfortunately, the doctors told him that he had let his health go too far and his life would be ending soon.
Since nothing seemed to have a lasting effect in the way of medicine, Bowden consulted a “highly-regarded” doctor that, surprisingly, prescribed riding a bicycle. With nothing to loose Bowden started riding a low-geared tricycle and after four months his health had taken such a drastic turn for the better that he switched to a two-wheeler and went on a 10 day cycling tour. He was addicted! Bowden become a devoted cyclist which in turn got him thinking about ‘the future of cycling for health, pleasure, and business.’
In 1888 Bowden bought a small workshop that was producing 3 bikes a week on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, England; this is where The Raleigh Bicycle Company had its start. After Bowden had taken over, production rose to 60 bicycles a week and 200 new staff was taken on. Raleigh Bicycles was on its way to becoming a world leader in the production of bicycles.
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Photograph showing three smartly dressed young women sitting upright on bicycles, supporting one another by holding on to the handlebars. It seems a perfect metaphor for sisterhood and the emancipation of women. The names of the women have been inscribed beneath the photograph - Mabel Asser, Lily Carver and Laura.
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Two gentlemen ride penny-farthings in Los Angeles, 1886
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Touring the Countryside, 1887