Bikes and Bloomers

Castle Street Methodist Church

Join Camcycle, Dr Kat Jungnickel, and the Cambridge Ladybirds WI for a discussion and cycle ride followed by tea and cake. There will even be examples of the Victorian cycle wear for guests to examine and patterns for people to purchase to try sewing some of the garments at home!

Dr Jungnickel is the author of Bikes and Bloomers, a social history of Victorian women inventors and their extraordinary cycle wear.

The bicycle in Victorian Britain is often celebrated as a vehicle of women’s liberation, but less is know about the critical technology with which women forged their new and mobile public lives. Conventional fashions were vastly inappropriate, with skirts catching in wheels and tangling in pedals, so pioneering women imagined, made and wore radical new forms of cycle wear but also patented their inventive designs. The most remarkable of these were convertible costumes that enabled wearers to secretly switch ordinary clothing into cycle wear.

Find out more about these unique contributors to cycling’s past and enjoy celebrating contemporary cycle culture in Cambridge. Feel free to wear your favourite items of cycling attire – anything that makes you feel free and alive!

We will also have a puncture repair demonstration from Outspoken Cycle’s head bike mechanic, Catherine Thompson.

Our cycle ride will be at the end of the event and will be about 4 miles on mostly quiet roads and off-road cycle paths. We will stop in front of the famous Senate House building where, in 1897, an effigy of a women cyclist in ‘rational dress’ was hung in protest against the granting of full degrees to women students at Cambridge University.  There will be an option to finish the ride in town at Senate House or to return back to Castle Hill.

Tickets are only £5 and can be purchased now from Eventbrite.

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Bikes and Bloomers author Kat Jungnickel and friends riding bikes in Victorian cycle wear

Catherine bike mechanic

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