ODOT launches initiative to move away from "highway-centric" approach http://t.co/0MvUyL9lt5
These crazy loop the loop tracks, also called the ‘cycle dazzle’ or the ‘saucer track’ were the cause of many a cyclist’s injury or even death. A favorite racing cyclist of mine, Dottie Farnsworth, died after performing on the cycle dazzle in the tiny town of Salamanca, New York, in 1902. Farnsworth was moonlighting in the Walter Main circus, and after she built up speed, flew right off the loop and crashed. While she didn’t die directly from the injuries sustained, she succumbed to an infection some days later. Dottie, a fast and fierce racer, was 27 when she died. Some accounts claim that Dottie’s death put a stop to women’s bike racing for many years.
In any case, the loop the loop kept going and adventurous types couldn’t resist the lure. As the bicycle gave way to the motorcycle, daredevils like Margaret Gast were ready to dazzle crowds by going around and around.
Love this engraving showing a quadricycle built for four. Must have been uncomfortable for the men, who don’t even have a perch. But from a quick glance it seems the women are doing the serious pedaling and the men are just along for the ride!
This is Women’s History Month, and in honor of that, the League of American Bicyclists and Carolyn at the League have done a great job showcasing some of the bike heroines that inspire me. They asked me to write two posts – one on Belva Lockwood, Washington DC’s first female cyclist (tricyclist), and also one on Tillie Anderson, the Swedish racing cyclist.
I searched in vain for a portrait of Belva, an enterprising feminist lawyer, with her tricycle. I thought I had found one in the Louisville paper, but couldn’t get sufficient access to the archives. I won’t give up, however. A photo of Belva with her bike-trike would be absolutely fabulous.
In the meantime, thanks to her grand-niece Alice Roepke, I did get access to fantastic shots of Tillie – you can see one of them in the slideshow above. Tillie was really amazing – she was a woman with unending endurance and speed as well as a knack for timing takeover in the many races she raced (and won).
More on these fantastic females at the League’s blog:
Enjoy springtime cycling…even it it’s not quite spring time where you are, it’s definitely time to get mentally ready for budding trees, singing birds, lovely daffodils and some time on your bike.