You’ll get “bicycle face”

"I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." -Susan B. Anthony

Women afflicted with Bicycle Face?


Oh the crazy things doctors come up with. A buddy of mine found this post and I had to share it with my small following. It about a medical condition coined in the mid 1890s.

The medial condition was Bicycle Face and its cause, “Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one’s balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted ‘bicycle face,'” noted the Literary Digest in 1895. It went on to describe the condition: “usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness.” Elsewhere, others said the condition was “characterized by a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes.”

The use of the terminology peaked during the late 1890’s, and made a slight comeback just before the 1920s and during the 1960s and 1970s. Coincidentally, these were times when key event for the Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S. were also happening. Women’s right to vote on the state level (1890s) and the federal level (1920) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act baring discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex (1964) are just a few of these important events. Now, I am not saying these male doctors where trying to squash women’s independence with a fabricated medical condition that seemed to disproportionately affect women who rode bikes…well maybe I am, just a little, okay a lot. Thankfully, as the 1800s came to an end most doctors abandoned this nonsense.

To read the full post go here:  The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about “bicycle face” – Vox.


until tomorrow


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