Category Archives: Feminism

Annie Londonderry

Annie Londonderry was the first woman to bicycle around the world. In reality, her name was Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, but the Londonderry surname came from her first sponsor The Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company of Nashua, New Hampshire. The New York World declared her trip from 1894 to 1985 as “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman”. And she did it as a mother of three children under the age of six. This fact turned every Victorian motion of female property of its ear and was controversial.

She came to the United States of America at the age of five with her parents and two older siblings from what is now Latvia and settled in Boston old West End.

She started her journey on June 25, 1894, when she stood before a crowd of about 500 friends, family, suffragists and curious onlookers at the Massachusetts State House. Going a step further, the trip was set not only to circle the Earth, but also earn $5,000 in route. If she reached these two targets, she would win a $10,000 prize. Imagine the incredible money sum in the 1890s. Thanks to her physical endurance and mental attitude, she rode the planned trip on a man’s bicycle attired in a man’s riding suit. She earned the $5,000 by selling photographs of herself, appearing as an attraction in stores and showing her body and bicycle to advertisers. You can see some of her photographs here. Her trip was so outstanding that the SPIN musical opened in Toronto, Canada, in March 2011 to critical acclaim. In August 2022 another musical inspired by Annie took place at London’s Charing Cross Theater also to critical acclaim.

As Susan B. Anthony claimed, “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world”.

Yolanda Muñoz

Yolanda Muñoz is one of the women who does not fear traveling alone. This bike-lover did an impressive trip mostly under the modality of bike + train. She started pedaling from Vitoria, Spain, and arrived to exotic countries thanks to its strength, courage and perseverance.

Her initial idea was to cross Europe and Asia and this primary teacher planned everything until the X day came: July the 16th 2015. Unfortunately, she had an accident with a bee in Poland and she modified her plan. She took the Tran-Siberian railway from Moscow to Mongolia, and an additional train to reach Peking. From this point, she rode her bike to Tibet. Her great journey, about 19,000 km, made her to verify how neoliberalism creates inequalities around the world.

Yolanda is feminism and this fact made her to choose pedaling alone even though her family. She crossed France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, India again, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran (it was a cold January), Turkey and Greece. Here, she helped refugees who were running away from the Syrian war.

She encountered good and bad days. In a hostel in Bangkok, she was talking with a man a he suddenly made a joke by calling her Indurain (by Miguel Indurain, a famous Spanish cyclist) and she immediately refused it by answering that she preferred Anna (by Annie Londonderry, the first woman to travel around the world). Sadly, only Yolanda knew about Annie.

Her passion for bikes started when she was 25 and used one to go to university and work in Vitoria. According to her words, she recommends planning and feeling like doing your great trip. Intuition is an important ally to avoid dangers, trust on your instinct and do not become frightened by potential aggressors.

Such experiences make you improve your autonomy, independence and wisdom.

Next trip: Africa.

Cris Lares

When talking about great trips some pass from one continent to another, whereas bike travelers also remain in the same continent. This is the case of Cris Lares. The Mexican woman started riding on her Specialized Pitch 27.5 from Oaxaca de Juárez the 23th of September 2018. She arrived in Pitumarca, Canchis district (Peru), but her plan was to reach the south of Argentina after pedaling more than 16,000 km. She had visited Guatemala, Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, and interesting places like impressive ocean coasts, the Amazon or the mountain range of the Andes. The problem was that she suffered an accident with a motorbike and broke both her fibula and tibia. This fact forced her to wait for months until restarting her great trip. After that, another accident happened with a car driven by a drunken and the Covid pandemic. Thus, some more months waiting for the recovering and then finally she could continue riding.

The tragic experiences show how strong this woman is and some tips she shares for life and specially for a great trip are to be positive-minded, not to think about negative issues, always thank people hospitality, be fit as a fiddle and ride with wisely-decided, low weight. This last point is really important. Take for example when Cris rode to the snowed Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador. She wore an impermeable trouser, but no jacket, neither gloves. Fortunately, she arrived at a mountain refuge where she could light a fire and warm up.

On March 2020, she arrived to Brazil after pedaling for 16,729 km.

Bielas Salvajes

Bielas Salvajes (Wild Rods in English) is a Spanish group of passionate, bike activists women which emerged in Saragossa back in 2014. Their main target is to contribute to develop an egalitarian space in which each and every say has the same value since the males say is somewhat dominant in some urban bike groups. Indeed, more than 70 people have accessed to the bicycle in Saragossa thanks to Bielas Salvajes since it was created.

They combine two main ways of using their bikes: going to work and enjoying routes outside the city. As it comes to urban biking, they propose the Safe Routes in which women who start pedaling for working are encouraged, given tips and recommended the safest paths.

Bielas Salvajes was the pioneer group of bike women and as time went by more groups with similar characteristics emerged in Spain such as Mulleres Bicivisíbeis (in Vigo), the group Cicliques (in Barcelona) or the Lavapiés Ciclist Club (in Madrid).

Women and bikes

Women represents more than half of human population, still their percentage in total bikers is less than half. Why is that?

It is clear that lack of bike infrastructures, mainly bike lines and their width, affects this behavior. Additional improvement on streets are also needed such as better lighting or perhaps excessive speed of actors which share common space. But, among all what makes it difficult for women is society. Yes, society because they suffer machismo, verbal aggression and even sexual harassment. If I ride my bicycle, nobody says me “You go on sidewalk!”, and I feel strong enough to recriminate a male car driver if he makes a dangerous maneuver which endangers my life. Moreover, lack of opportunities to learn how to ride a bike in the past influences it today. Besides, sadly who dedicates more time in tasks such as taking care of people, buying in the supermarket and housework are women which let them less free time for themselves in comparison with men.

As it comes to human behavior, what I see would increase the percentage of women on bikes is women empowering. So women, please, please, please do not mind to idiots, defend your space, ride your bikes in the middle of a car line because bicycles are traffic.

Secure cities and egalitarian societies will boom bike women.

Blanca Fernández

Blanca Fernández, Irún, Spain, has been living in London for more than four decades. She started long rides on bicycles back in 2015. First, she pedaled on a Surly Long Haul Trucker and crossed Romania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, the country Georgia, Armenia and finally the planned Iran. Here, she discover the Pamir mountainous area which is one of the high mountain most impressive of Asia. At the beginning of this journey, she did not have any idea on how or when to reach her target, though she new the travel would lasting. Why? Because she affirms she always wanted more in each and every ride she had done. Moreover, she had the clear idea that the most important is not the start and the end of a ride, but rather what is between them.

Thus, she did not stop in the Pamir mountainous area. She continued to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. She experienced heavy rains, snow, windy days, but no climate conditions stopped her. Two years, 22,000 km, 23 countries, 687 days in total until she went back to London as a result of the Brexit. Her daughters asked her to come due to red tape and so did her. However, in march 2018 she kept on cycling in order to cover Africa from The Cairo, Egypt.  Then, she rode on Sudan, Uganda, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Angola, Benin and Morocco. Differences in languages were easily overcame by proper gestures. What amazes her is meeting people from distant lands and share views and ideas. At the moment of writing this post, she has pedaled for more than 44,000 km.

Fancy Women Bike Ride

Women and bikes are necessary actors in streets as key factors to diminish machismo and pollution. Following this spirit, a group of girl friends met through social nets in order to pedal the downtown of Izmir, Turkey, in 2013. They opened this event to every woman who wanted to spend some happy time since proposed rules such as participants were dressed up or their bikes being decorated with flowers were compulsory. The event was a success and more than 500 women spent the day laughing and making new friends. Indeed, the Fancy Women Bike Ride took place the September 22nd, the Day Without Cars.

The Fancy Women Bike Ride is an organized group leaded by Pinar and Sema Gür which is supported by local volunteers all around Turkey. Participants ride their bicycles by free on a previously decided two hours route. If you contact to Pinar and Sema, they provide you with banners, flyers and knowledge on how to organize it no matter which city you live on.

The Fancy Women Bike Ride proposed two clear targets: to motivate women to use bikes in cities (and villages) and convince local authorities to create permanent bike infrastructures and services so that pedaling was a more secure activity. All in all, they demand it with a big smile.

In September 19th, 2021 Fancy Women Bike Ride was celebrated in more than 150 cities of 30 countries in which thousands of women claimed for their right to move on bikes in a happy, kind, secure way. Good for you!


Bicycles can be used in a myriad of ways often as a surprising idea. One of them is what the Koffeecleta represents: a new local business. The entrepreneur Yoli Díaz made it up when pedaling on her loved Female Dragon bike through South Asia (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). Traveling to exotic places makes it easy to see the world through different eyes, not to mention that Yoli is an extrovert, imaginative and passionate woman. She lives in Aínsa, Aragon, the Spanish Pyrenees.

On the way back, she contacted a friend in order to develop the idea of a food truck. However, something did not fit in with. Finally, her friend abandoned the concept and Yoli came across what she was looking for: a bicycle. Thus, she created the Koffeecleta by combining both concepts: bicycle plus selling food (coffee in this case). Before deciding the final model, she studied hard several options like the Foodicleta, on which she would sell octopus balls, or the Conocleta, to sell ice creams.

The Koffeecleta not only offers coffee, but also handmade chocolates and, in Summer, flavored water. As it comes to its characteristics, the Koffeecleta attracts people attention thanks to its shape and colors. A highlighted front wooden crate, the canopy stands out by its design and colors combination, the rear trunk and so on make the Koffeecleta special. It weights 170 kg net load and counts on a small fridge, a kitchen, a power strip and a battery, all the accessories to prepare good coffee.

An important issue is that she changes the route on a day-to-day basis. This way monotony is avoided, although she has made regular customers. Moreover, she escapes sameness while chatting with customers in the seven minutes it takes to prepare the coffee. And no matter if it is raining, snowing or a windy day, she starts the route with a big smile on her face.

World Bicycle day

The World Bicycle day was on 19th of April from 1985 to 2018. In April 2018, the United Nations changed the day to 3rd of June thanks to the support of 57 countries. Leszek Sibilski directed the international campaign and associations such as the World Cycling Alliance and the European Cyclist Federation which encouraged it. But why did the World Bicycle day was initially declared on 19th April?

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemical, was the origin of it. He was the first person who synthesized, ingested and experimented the effects of LSD in 1943. At first, he ingested it in a casual way. Next, he carried out an aware LSD ingestion three days after. As a result, he experienced a more powerful trip than the easy return journey home by bike. He simply went crazy!

Going a step further, bicycles have improved the gender equality. For instance, it allowed women to travel by themselves without the need of any man. According to the suffragette Elizabeth Cady Staton, bicycle is a tool that motivates women to gain strength and assume an increasing role in society. Moreover, the suffragette Susan B. Anthony believed bikes as the most important to emancipate women in the world. However, it is not now just plain sailing.

When women started pedaling, it was said that bikes produced a rare illness called ”bicycle face”. The stupid diagnosis was invented by several doctors in a mixture of ignorance and machismo at that time. Indeed, they feared pedaling would cause women fertility lost, female tuberculosis or even an increment in women libido (this was dangerous in single women, what a nonsense).

Fortunately, these ideas disappeared and we enjoy biking no matter your gender nowadays.

Rosario Pino

Rosario Pino (1870-1933) was a bike pioneer in Spain at the end of the 19th century. She worked as actress and first appeared in a painting in the magazine El deporte velocipédico (The Velocipede Sport, a velocipede was a type of 19th-bicycle) in February 1896. At that time, bicycles were expensive devices that only high-class people, mainly men, could afford it.

Her image represented a terrible blow to the macho and patriarchal mentality since they claimed against women in trousers on infernal machines. The very same magazine published where Rosario appeared also showed a journal article in which the French doctor Lèon Petit explained a positive view of women riding bikes. For instance, he denied the absurd legends of relating women infertility, hirsutism and lack of sexual desire to bicycle. To the contrary, he approved women on bikes in order for them to enjoy a healthy life which in turn will contribute to bring more babies to the world.

The provocative picture of Rosario Pino boosted the Spanish women to use bicycles and is considered part of the fight for female civil rights. In fact, Susan B. Anthony, the American Suffragist Association president, affirmed “I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood”. Bicycles are symbols of equality because if men could make bike rides, women also could. For example, Marthe Hesse ascended the mythic Tourmalet mountain, France, without setting foot on the ground in 1902. Moreover, there were female bike competitions in Buffalo, Paris, Aix-les-Bains (France), Manchester (England) or Glasgow (Scotland). Female racers used the bloomers trousers, by Amelia Bloomer. In Spain, the first female bike race took place in 1935. The Ventas Cyclist Club organized the 22 kilometers race and Angelita Torres won it.
However, Rosario Pino rode in a relaxing way to go to wherever she wanted without the help of a man. She rode to the end of her days.