ANNALISE WALMER rider statement: "Cycling represents autonomy and empowerment. It's my daily workout, clears my head and is enviro-friendly. I've been a year-round cyclist for three decades. I've biked to singing gigs in heels, gone camping with a loaded trailer, and explored trails and the waterfront. I've been called a tenacious "road warrior," pushing through snowstorms, covered in ice, yet sweating. I've got scars and a bikeable wardrobe. Having volunteered at a DIY bike shop for 7 years, I've gained mechanical know-how and now assist participants with repairs. I get a sense of satisfaction when my bike's running smoothly, knowing that I did it. I've been involved with Art Spin, Bike Rave, Bicycle Music Festival and group rides - all great ways to meet others with a passion for cycling and the arts. I got my seven-piece band performing while cycling, or being carried on cargo bikes and trailers, for one Art Spin ride. Cycling is political. I volunteer with Cycle Toronto, the cycling advocacy group that works towards developing better road and cycling infrastructure. It's important for cyclists to feel safe. Cycling is an equalizer; regardless of gender, age, size and ability, bikes are adaptable to most riders' needs. The more people are seen riding, the more people will take up riding."
In 1890s Europe and North America, the bicycle was gaining popularity as a means of transportation, recreational activity and sport. However, medical opinion about the health benefits of cycling, especially for women, was mixed. One of the supposed risks for women was a condition known as “bicycle face.”
At the turn of the century the bicycle afforded many women increased freedom and autonomy, and the bicycle itself became a symbol of women’s emancipation. With the ridiculous prognosis of "bicycle face" we saw how cycling, feminism, patriarchy and medical opinion collided in the1890s.
Photographer Marc Bernhard says, "The purpose of BikeFACE! is to promote and celebrate women’s commuter, recreational and sport cycling. It is a series of studio images in which the subjects were invited to ride their bikes on a stationary trainer at full exertion to see what their bicycle face might look like. The series is meant to be a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek reference to the historical anti-feminist ideas against cycling, by showing the strength, intensity and determination of women cyclists today."
Featured rider Annalise Walmer says, “Cycling is an equalizer; regardless of gender, age, size and ability...”
dandyhorse is pleased to present this essay celebrating women cyclists in our city -- just in time for Bike Month! You can read more about "bicycle face" here.
We'll be rolling out each profile one at a time throughout Bike Month and adding all the links here.