Three Women who Changed the Course of History On Bicycles

Three Women who Changed the Course of History On Bicycles

Alexandra Ruticova

This is our month, GIRLS POWER, and we, the Bikeroo girls feel that we need to invite to our party those women who inspired us many times in our lives.

They challenged their times misconceptions and taboos, but first of all they challenged their selves: their strength, independence, determination and their sense of humor some times. Meet those girls that wouldn’t take NO for an answer.

1. Annie Londonderry

Imagini pentru Annie Londonderry

                                                                                             Photo credit  totalwomenscycling.com

A cool lady indeed!

Annie Cohen Kopchovsky (1870–1947), known as Annie Londonderry, was a Latvian immigrant to the United States who in 1894–95 became the first woman to bicycle around the world.

She was a free-thinking woman, who reinvented herself under her pseudonym as an entrepreneur, athlete, and globetrotter.

Her adventure started in in 1894, when two rich Boston men wagered $20,000 against $10,000 that no woman could travel around the world by bicycle in 15 months and earn $5000. So Mrs. Kopchovsky did it!

She was a highly unlikely choice for the completion of this wager, starting with her name, which identified her as a Jew in a city and country where anti-Semitism was widespread. She lacked the experience, never having ridden a bicycle until a few days before her trip, and had a slight build, only 5 foot 3, about 100 pounds. In addition, she was a married woman and a mother of three children, ages five, three, and two.

On June 27, 1894, 24-year-old Kopchovsky hopped on her 42-pound Columbia woman’s bike wearing the long skirt, corset and high collar of the time she waved goodbye to her husband and three small children and some fans from the local cycling club as she headed off for New York. 

She arrived on September 24, 15 months from when she left, differently dressed, more into a men’s riding outfit, with a lighter bike (she received a new sponsorship and a bike especially designed for her) and received her prize as well as her future celebrity!

 

  1. Billie Fleming

                                                                                                              Photocredit: Adventure Journal

Born in 1914, Billie Fleming died earlier in 2014 shortly after reaching her 100th birthday.

At the time of her death in 2014 she continued to receive letters from people saying how much she inspired them to cycle and her record still stood as of November 2015.

Billie Fleming is definitely no ordinary lady. In 1938, then named Billie Dovey, she rode a staggering 29,603.7 miles across the United Kingdom on a mission to promote the health benefits of cycling.

She rode every single day of the year in a wide variety of weather conditions to spread the message.

 

Do you know other women that changed the history of cycling?

3. Marianne Vos

Imagini pentru Marianne Vos

                                                                                                                        Photo Credit: Active.com

Dutch cyclo-cross, road bicycle racer, mountain bike racer and track racer who has drawn comparison to Eddy Merckx as being "the finest cyclist of her generation. And she is only 30 now!

Vos dominated the elite women's fields from the moment she aged out of the junior ranks, winning her first elite world title in 2006 at the age of 19. She soon matched that achievement on the road circuit, winning the UCI Road World Championships in the same year.

From 2009 to 2014, Vos won six straight gold medals at 'cross Worlds and added two more titles on the road, but an injury early in the 2014 cyclo-cross season led to a physical collapse after she took third in Tabor at the 2015 World Championships. It put Vos out of competition for the entire 2015 road season and 2015-2016 'cross season. After a shortened road season in 2016, Vos returned to cyclo-cross in December, building to a strong second-place finish at the World Championships earlier this year.

We are pretty sure, this year we will find her in 1st place around the world!