Annie Londonderry

By : Margot Goodnow · November 24, 2010

As a WTF in the 21st century, I sometimes take for granted the paths that have been paved for my bike and I; and I'm not just talking about bike lanes and paths.  The advocacy work to create bike friendly cities deserves a round of applause, but that is a subject for another day.  I specifically wish to reference society's mindset about women/trans/femme individuals and their bikes.  Second wave feminism, gender-bending, queer theory, these have all played their part in how I can be in society today.  Throw in the empowerment of a bicycle, the freedom it gives, and you have a whole new recipe for awesome WTF.  Or at least I thought it was new.

Maybe I'm the only one who goes about life thinking I'm a "21st century-er," riding my bike where I need to go and making a place for myself on the streets, but maybe there are others out there who feel this way too.  For those of us who, like me, are less in tune to the history of it all, I present to you Annie Londonderry.

Londonderry on her Bike

A couple of days ago, I was minding my own business, doing a google image search for ladies on bikes, and I came across this gem of a womyn.  She was the first to ride her bike all the way around the world.  In 1894.  (say WHAT?!??)  That's right, in fucking 1894.  This wife and mother left behind her kids with the husband in order to prove that a woman could make her way around the globe on a bicycle, and support herself financially on the way.  If that's not hardcore, I don't know what is.
Oh, by the way, did I mention she rode a fixed gear with no brakes?
So, I tip my funny little cap to you, Annie.  For being the awesome "21st century-er" that I can only dream of being.
Have fun learning more at this website where all images and info are from:

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I love this so much, Margoat!! Glad you wrote this up for us. Annie Londonderry is my new hero. I'm going to name my new winter bike (almost done!) "Annie Londonderry." I hope I do her proud, even though I'm going to be riding slow, and with brakes. =]
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