Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Look Sweet Upon the Seat...

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Bicycle!

Flickr photo by ale2000
Hooray for the freedom machine!
What? Have you never heard it called that? Put on your Votes for Women sash and have a little chat with Susan B. Anthony, who said, "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."
Woo hoo!

Flickr photo by eyeball jello mold
Our daughters' daughters will adore us and we'll sing in grateful chorus, "Well done sister suffragettes."
Sorry. I can't get enough of that song.

Quick! Get out of the way! Here they come.

Flickr photo by Town of Ogden
Oh. They've dismounted.
Still, they look like a hearty bunch.
When we lived in France I'd see women, young and old, biking through town.

Flickr photo by just in photos
It was a beautiful sight!
Know who else I like to see touring around town? My very own Michelin man.

No doubt he was inspired by the Tour de France.

Flickr photo by tem365
Or maybe by Mr. Bib!

Flickr photo by fixedgear
Mr. Bib, you really should put that cigar down. And what's with hiking your leg up on the handlebars? What a showoff!
Did you know Michelin got its start making bicycle tires? Well, actually it was a rubber factory until someone needed a tire fixed and Edouard Michelin tried to repair it. As he worked, the wheels in his brain started turning. Why not make a pneumatic tire that's removable?
So he did. Because so much is riding on your tires.

Want to ride some tires around Paris? Why not bike share?

Flickr photo by McBrewster
But don't let Fido near your wheels. Once he tastes life on a freedom machine, you'll never get that leash on him again!

Flickr photo by National Media Museum

Have a wonder-full Wednesday, everyone!
Love, Becky

PS. If you wonder what kind of crazy bicycle Buster Keaton is riding, it's a Dandy horse.
PS. AGAIN I'm the (late) guest blogger today over at Sia McKye's Thoughts...Over Coffee. Please hop over and say hi!


Ellen said...

Hi Becky!
Wonderful post. We recently got back from our first visit to Paris and one of the things I loved best about the city was the bikes. It was great to see the sharing racks all about---and even more impressive to see incredibly well dressed women wearing exceptionally impressive heels pedaling away.

Ah, to have such talent :)

Susan Tuttle said...

i love vintage photos of bicycles -- such a fun post:)

Susan said...

Ohh, I loved the video on Buster Keaton with the Dandy Horse and the link to it. Thanks for sharing, I feel very learned this morning. Susan

Sherry said...

Once again, I've learned something. Actually, two somethings. I had not read the quote from Susan B. Anthony, and I didn't know how Michelin got its start. Wow!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I never knew it was called that! Again, you teach me, sensei;)
Now I want to go for another bike ride (took the first one of the season Friday evening!)

Randy and Linda said...

Your first photo is why I like women on bikes, and also because it keeps them healthy.
The old French postcard is very cool because you have this sensuous woman holding up a man's bike (has high bar), and in those days a bike was heavy! Nice artwork.
Yeah, what's that with Mr.Bib? Maybe he wanted to show-off his family jewels ... I mean tires.
Very cool Dandy Horse, didn't know they ever existed, that hybrid thing! Must have been real tough on the shoe soles!
Shouldn't it be really easy for the US to setup cycling systems in a lot of our touristy towns? Those are nice bikes in France, they look like a comfortable ride with the larger tires, and all look so clean, too. What fun!
Another really nice post, and its a good reminder that I need to get back into shape.

Linda said...


The picture of the older woman pushing the bicycle reminded me of a little old lady who lived at the top of our street in France. We lived on a very steep hill and when she visited the market, she would coast all the way down the street on her bicycle and then push it all the way back up!

The Dandy Horse looks like fun! I always learn something from your posts...

Barb said...

Hi Becky,

What a fun post! When I think of serious bike riders, I think of the Netherlands. Years ago as an exchange student there, that was the mode of transportation. I had never seen so many bikes in one place. These people were fearless. Cars, trams, they just went for it.

Have a wonderful Wed.


Betty C. said...

We don't see so many cyclists in Rodez -- it's too hilly! We are seeing more and more, though.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Beautiful, wonderful, inspiring blog :) I enjoyed my visit, and shall be back!

Kelly H-Y said...

LOVE biking ... well, except for that one time when the bike flipped over on me ... while I was on it ... that wasn't so good. But, bikes are still awesome! My kids practically live on theirs!
By the way ... I am LOVING your book! I'm reading it at night before I go to bed ... it's the perfect way to end my day ... being transported to life in France! :-)

adrienne said...

That bike sharing system is very cool. The dandy horse looks like fun, too.

Cheri' said...

This post reminded me of my mom, who is now in heaven with Jesus. Throughout her childhood she lived on a farm and always wanted to learn to ride a bicycle, but never did.

When she was in her 50's my dad bought her a 3 wheel bike with a basket on the front. She started riding short distances at first and before long rode it all over town. She rode it for about 15 or more years after getting it, until osteoporosis prevented her from riding.

I was always proud of her for learning to ride regardless of her age! Thanks -- This was a great post!

lotusgirl said...

I wish there were more bike path and lanes around here. It would make the US a much more bike friendly country. It was so much easier to ride bikes in France.

May Vanderbilt said...

In San Francisco and New York, the bicyclists take over the city streets the first Friday of every month and no cars can get through. It's very European!

I got to see the bike share thing in Paris last time I was there. It was very cool!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great comments, y'all.
Ellen, I still can't understand how French women bike and hike in heels. I saw it every day.

Hi Susan T. The vintage photos are my favorite. I LOVE the bicycle ads too.

Susan, isn't that thing crazy? I'd love to give it a try.

Sherry, I'm a fount of Michelin knowledge. It rubs off on you, just like the tire smell.

Green Girl, I want to go too. Todd LOVES his rides out in the country. He's seen all sorts of wildlife. The other day he almost ran over a wild turkey!

Randy, I agree. I'd love to see the bike share program around here. It's so smart. Of course it's hard enough around here to just ask for bike lanes!

Linda, That's a great story about the French woman. They're so in shape--exactly because they do things like that!

Hi Barb. When I was in college I went with my family to the Netherlands, and I remember the biking too. My brother and I biked out in the country and pulled over to buy cherries from a roadside stand.

Hi Betty, no, I guess you probably don't see them much with all those hills. I remember being so amazed with the cyclists going up the puys around Clermont, training for races. That's tough.

Welcome to the blog, Flat Creek Farm!

Kelly, ouch! I well remember skinning up the palms of my hands from a couple falls on our concrete driveway.
You're so sweet to mention the book. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Hi Adrienne, it is cool! Next time I go to Paris I have to try it.

Cheri', that's a great story and says so much about your mom! I want to be remembered like that--as a person who wasn't afraid to try new things, no matter my age.

Lois, I know. It's a little scary to ride around here, without bike lines. Some people get downright mad that a cyclist wants to use the road! There are some real yahoos out there.

Hi May. That's great. I've never heard about that. I bet it's really fun to ride around New York without the fear of being squashed.

TattingChic said...

That funny, I think of my car as a freedom machine! I think it's because I can go more places in it, LOL!

I do love bicycling, though! :)

Suzie said...

I love the pic of the gals on bikes how they biked in a corset hat and long skirt is beyond me

Ronnie said...

Hey Becky,
Great to be back in Blogland again.
I wouldn't miss M, W, and Friday!
I linked this one to my sister. She is bike crazy and loved your post as did I. Old Buster's bike looked a little rough on the crotch! See you tomorrow.

Fete et Fleur said...

I haven't ridden a bike in years! I was fixated on your first photo. All I could think about is what would happen if she fell off that bike with that skirt and heels!


Trisha said...

I really really love this post! Women's history, France and biking are three of my favorite things. Will be linking on my blog, if you don't mind -- and by the way, my co-blogger and I both ride in heels!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Trisha, it's great to meet you! Welcome to the blog!