Wednesday June 13, 2012 | 07:30 AM

Once upon a time in the biking world women were discouraged from talking bicycle at the table, refusing assistance up a hill and fainting in the road.

According to the rules of the Unique Cycling Club of Chicago, women on bikes were also expected to keep their mouths closed on dirty roads and to never go out for a ride without a needle, thread and thimble.

And according to a story in the June 21, 1895 edition of the Newark Sunday Advocate, any woman daring enough to show up for a cycling club event with a skirt covering her bloomers should expect a harsh and humiliating punishment.

According to the published account, two riders who disobeyed the club's bloomers rule were "fell on" by other "strong armed" members and stripped of their skirts in public. According to the club president, Mrs. Langdon, the offenders were made examples of for publicly defying the rules.

And what ridiculous rules they included. Read all them courtesy of and be thankful that these days women can coast whenever they damn well please and scream at every cow they meet.

About the Author

Karen Beaudoin lives in Portland and is the web editor for

Her Pedal On blog offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

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