WHM Books
Women in Cycling

Women's History Month: Female Authors

By: Victoria Shead  March 17, 2021

Women's History Month is a month dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women to history and to contemporary society. These female cyclists and bike enthusiasts have pushed boundaries, affected change, redefined roles, and have complicated our understanding of what it means to be powerful.

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month you can add these books by female authors to your library. Whether you’re looking for an Autobiography, a History book, even a thrilling tale of bike adventure around the world!

Bicycling for Ladies: The Classic 1896 Guide to Skills, Exercise, Mechanics, and Dress by Maria E. Ward

Bicycling for Ladies is the trailblazing book that introduced women to bicycling and shocked a Victorian culture on its release in 1896. Today it remains comprehensive and useful, but also celebrates women’s advancement in the sport and offers an inspiring, and amusing, look back. Ward’s detailed mechanical and physical instruction, paired with helpful images and charts, makes daunting ordeals like hill climbing, navigating traffic, and bike maintenance a breeze. In modern times, when so much is outsourced, automated, and unreliable, Ward’s approach to transportation is refreshing. But while bicycling is rich with health and environmental benefits, male bicyclists still outnumber female riders, most competitive cyclists are male, and women are more likely to report feeling unsafe on a bike. Ward’s text gives women the tools they need to claim their stake of the road.

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy

Based on her daily diary, this is Dervla Murphy's account of her ride, in 1963, across frozen Europe and through Persia and Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and into India, during one of the worst winters in memory.

Wheels Within Wheels by Dervla Murphy

In this beautifully written and searingly honest autobiography, the intrepid cyclist and traveler Dervla Murphy remembers her richly unconventional first thirty years. She describes her determined childhood self - strong-willed and beguiled by books from the first - her intermittent formal education and the intense relationship of an only child with her parents, particularly her invalid mother, whom she nursed until her death. Bicycling fifty miles in a day at the age of eleven, alone, it seems only natural that her first major journey should have been to cycle to India.

Back in the Frame: How to get back on your bike, whatever life throws at you by Jools Walker

Jools Walker rediscovered cycling aged 28 after a decade-long absence from the saddle. But it's hard to find space in an industry not traditionally open to women - especially women of color. Shortly after getting back on two wheels, Jools was diagnosed with depression and then, in her early thirties, hit by a mini-stroke. Funny, moving, and motivational, this book tells the story of how Jools overcame these challenges, stepped outside her comfort zone, and learned to cycle her own path. Along the way, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories and tips from other female trailblazers and shows how cycling can and should be a space for everyone.

Ride the Revolution: The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling by Suze Clemson

Featuring contributions from Emma O'Reilly, the soigneur for the U.S. Postal Service Team and one of the people responsible for bringing Lance Armstrong down as part of David Walsh's investigation; Betsy Andreu, wife of ex-professional cyclist Frankie Andreu and another Lance Armstrong nemesis; Michelle Cound, manager and partner of Tour de France winner Chris Froome; Juliet Macur, author of Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong; and Jen See, who interviews Marianne Vos, arguably the greatest cyclist in the world right now. When Marie Marvingt decided to ride the 1908 Tour de France she was told "absolument, non " Instead, she rode each stage fifteen minutes after the official racers had departed and finished all 4,488 km of the Parcours--a feat that only 36 of the 110 men who entered the race could equal. Her motto? "I decided to do everything better, always and forever." It's in the spirit of Breakneck Marie that this book has been written. These fresh and vibrant voices examine the sport from a new perspective to provide insights that rarely make it into the mainstream: what is it like to be a top women rider or to work in their support team? Where is the women's sport heading and when will more women be represented at the highest level of sport's governance

Women and Bicycles in America, 1868-1900 by Kerry Segrave

In the last third of the 1800s, America was struck by a bicycle craze. This trend massively impacted the lives of women, allowing them greater mobility and changing perceptions of women as weak or in need of chaperones. This book traces the history and development of the American bicycle, observing its critical role in the fight for gender equality. The bicycle radically changed the face of fashion, health, and even morality and propriety in America. This thorough history traces the sweeping social advances made by women in relation to the development of the bicycle.

Lone Traveller: One Woman, Two Wheels, and The World - Anne Mustoe

Anne Mustoe, the retired headmistress who cycled around the world twice, despite (she claimed) not knowing how to fix a puncture. As well as the usual tales of adventure and hardship, Mustoe, a former classics teacher, brought academic clout and cultural depth to her journeys. Lone Traveller is the account of her second circumnavigation, following historical routes across Europe, South America, Oceania, and Asia.

The Breakaway – Nicole Cooke

Being a woman in a male-dominated sport is tough. There’s constant heat surrounding the gender debates over coverage, pay, and rights. Nicole Cooke wasn’t a household name. Despite her dedication, training, and hard work, she didn’t stand in the media limelight like her male counterparts. After announcing her retirement in 2013, Nicole publishes The Breakaway, telling all about the struggle, the rewards, and the world of professional cycling. This gripping and eye-opening read shines a light on this incredible.

The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Women EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR WHATEVER, WHENEVER, AND WHEREVER YOU RIDE -By Selene Yeager and Editors of Bicycling magazine

Top professional cyclist Selene Yeager has teamed up with the editors of Bicycling magazine to create The Bicycling Big Book of Cycling for Women, an easy-to-follow instructional manual geared specifically toward women and their unique needs. It breaks down the sport of cycling into easily digestible sections, beginning with the history of women’s cycling and progressing into equipment, lifestyle, technique, training, fitness goals, nutrition, maintenance, and more. The book also includes a women-specific section regarding hormones and exercise performance, cycling while menstruating, cycling while pregnant, how menopause affects your training, and how specific parts of the female body are uniquely affected by cycling.

Rusch to Glory: Adventure, Risk, & Triumph on the Path Less Traveled by Rebecca Rusch

Rebecca Rusch is one of the great endurance athletes of her generation, but she began her journey toward greatness from an ordinary beginning. A scrawny, asthmatic kid from Chicago who leaned toward lazy, Rusch graduated college with top honors and soon abandoned a predictable life, heading from home to wander the world and find adventure. Rusch discovered adventure racing, stared down her demons, witness the tragic death of a friend, and jar against the glass ceiling in sports. "Rusch to Glory" shows how one woman went from ordinary to extraordinary and how anyone can discover their own greatness.

Muscle on Wheels: Louise Armaindo and the High-Wheel Racers of Nineteenth-Century by M Ann Hall

The majestic high-wheel bicycle, with its spider wheels and rubber tires, emerged in the mid-1870s as the standard bicycle. A common misconception is that bound by Victorian dress and decorum, women were unable to ride it, only taking up cycling in the 1880s with the advent of the chain-driven safety bicycle. On the contrary, women had been riding and even racing some form of the bicycle since the first vélocipèdes appeared in Europe early in the nineteenth century. Challenging the understanding that bicycling was a purely masculine sport, Muscle on Wheels tells the story of women's high-wheel racing in North America in the 1880s and early 1890s, with a focus on a particular cyclist: Louise Armaindo (1857–1900). The story of working-class Victorian women who earned a living through their athletic talent, Muscle on Wheels showcases an exciting moment in women's and athletic history that is often forgotten or misconstrued.

Women on Wheels: The Scandalous Untold History of Women in Bicycling by April Streeter

A feminist history of bicycling for sport and adventure spans a century of women who changed the world from two wheels. This vivacious tale, peppered with fascinating details from primary sources, shows how women were sometimes the stars of bicycle races and exhibitions, and other times had to overcome sexism, exclusion, and economic inequalities in order to ride. From the almost burlesque show races and creative performances of the 19th century to the evolution of cycling as a modern sport and form of transportation, April Streeter brings her exuberant eye for character, fashion, and story to convey the evolving emotional resonance of bicycling for women and their communities. Interweaving pedal-powered history with profiles of bicyclists who made their mark, like Katharine Hepburn, Annie Londonderry, Kittie Knox, Dorothy Lawrence, Louise Armaindo, and more.