History: The time doctors made up the ailment 'Bicycle Face'

Women cyclists in the 19th century were told they risked ugliness if they strayed too far

Nineteenth-century men often went the extra mile to keep women ‘in their place’ — namely, trussed up in crinoline and in the kitchen — but this one’s a real humdinger.

In the 1890s, when cycling was all the rage, both men and women wiled away the hours atop their bicycles.

However, the fashionable form of transportation suddenly gave women the mobility and freedom to venture out alone, challenging the Victorian idea of femininity.

This clearly vexed certain male medical practitioners, who decided to invent a fictitious disease to scare women off the provocative pastime.
 

Victorian woman riding bicycle


Creatively termed ‘Bicycle Face’ — and embracing the

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