Description

When bicycling first became popular, there was considerable public sentiment that it was inappropriate for women. It was immoral, even dangerous to society. As one critic put it, bicycling was damaging to the “feminine organs of matrimonial necessity.” And finally, muscular legs would make women unattractive. Nineteenth-century suffragist Frances Willard ignored the public pressure.  In her book, “How I learned to ride the bicycle,” she describes it as “an act of grace, a pure natural love of adventure, an act of power,” and, “last but not least, a response to the good many people who thought I could not do it at my age.” She was fifty-four. Interest in cycling has sky rocketed over the years, and a huge number of agencies offer trips for every level of ability, from mountainous treks to seaside meanderings.   Let me tell you of a cycling adventure that captures the spirit that Willard describes: twenty women over fifty, average age sixty, pedaling cross-country, California to Florida.  We dipped our rear tires in the Pacific Ocean at San Diego, on March 17th, and we rode over the sand into the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine, on May 8th: 3,100 miles, fifty-four days, and memories for a lifetime.  Come hear, and see, how this group of women not only survived, but thrived, on this trip. No matter how hard the ride, we ended each day with grins and laughter at the sheer joy of what we were accomplishing.