During the 1890’s, everyone was riding bicycles. Even women! Two-wheeled transportation truly changed the female lifestyle. More relaxed clothing allowed a lady to climb aboard a bike. Riding revealed the physical world outside the home, and women rode bikes to learn about places and people, have fun and go on dates with the opposite sex. Often, women rode faster and farther than men, increasing fitness and athletic ability while distancing themselves from the confining, sedentary lifestyle of a traditional lady.

From romantic bicycles built for two to the dangerous 52- inch high-wheeler, “the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” Susan B. Anthony, a prominent American feminist, said in 1896.

Sue Macy’s book, "Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)" reveals the history behind Anthony’s famous quote. Surprising and entertaining, Macy’s book recounts stories of real women who defied the odds to contribute to American culture in sports and other areas of women’s history.

March is National Women’s History Month and this year ‘s theme is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.

In Grand Prairie this week, Ben Milam Elementary is dedicating the Ellen Ochoa STEM Academy on Thursday, March 6. Selected by NASA in 1990, Ochoa became the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut in 1991. During March, events throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex will highlight the achievements of women in science and the humanities.

The following list of "41 Don’ts for women bicyclists" was published in the New York World newspaper in 1895. Here are a few pointers that I hope don’t apply to women cyclists of the 21st century:

Don’t wear tight garters.

Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”

Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws is private.

Don’t scream if you meet a cow. She will run if she sees you first.

Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes to “see how it feels.”

Don’t criticize people’s legs.

Don’t appear to be up on bicycle racing “records” and record

smashing.” That is sporty.

Thank goodness we have come a long way, baby.