The Do’s And Dont’s For Female Cyclists

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I think it’s safe to say that Women’s Cycling has always lagged behind as a sport, but here’s a list of “Do’s and Dont’s” for Female riders circa 1895 originally published by New York World and adopted by the UCI soon after.

If you open the UCI Rulebook for Women you’ll see that many items in the list still exist today. Have a look:

•   Don’t be a fright.
•   Don’t faint on the road.
•   Don’t wear a man’s cap.
•   Don’t wear tight garters.
•   Don’t forget your toolbag
•   Don’t attempt a “century.”
•   Don’t coast. It is dangerous.
•   Don’t boast of your long rides.
•   Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”
•   Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
•   Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”
•   Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
•   Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
•   Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.
•   Don’t wear jewellery while on a tour.
•   Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.
•   Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
•   Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
•   Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
•   Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
•   Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
•   Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
•   Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
•   Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
•   Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
•   Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
•   Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble.
•   Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
•   Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
•   Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you
•   Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
•   Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
•   Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
•   Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
•   Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
•   Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
•   Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
•   Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because yon ride a wheel.
•   Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
•   Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
•   Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

And more recent additions to the UCI Rulebook for women:

•   Don’t expect to be paid to be a professional cyclist
•   Don’t call Pat McQuaid a “dick”.

This list was originally seen published on and the list can be traced back to a 1942 edition of the Illinois Historical Society with an attribution to the New York World.