Today’s fashionable “lady cyclist” is likely wearing spandex, skin-tight bicycle shorts. Consider the women of 1894 and their persistence in finding some way to enjoy that new contraption, the bicycle.
“What shall we wear?” is a query rising from every channel of woman’s life: for upon each occasion we must be suitably clad to enjoy its peculiar benefits. This is especially noticeable for such exercise as bicycling, for, in this case, it is not only a matter of appearing well, but the health, the comfort and safety demand a carefully selected costume and equipment.
In 1878, the first bicycles were manufactured in America. Very quickly, women began to experiment with riding the new personal vehicles.
(via LIFE archives)