I have come across references to the so-called "bicycle face" phenomenon in my research, but generally in the sort of fringe sensationalist publications whose modern counterparts run stories claiming that distilled water causes cancer, or that constipation leads to skin disease. Of Stromberg's citations: His very first source is an article he wrote himself, he references Wikipedia three times (a dubious practice), one source is a review of a 2011 children's picture book, and one is a 2008 account of a (largely faked) publicity stunt written by a descendant of the woman who perpetrated it. I somewhat question his research methods.
I always experience a combination of amusement and annoyance when someone cherry-picks a few anomolies out of the media of any culture, presents them out of context, and claims that they represent 100% of the opinions of that culture. A fascination with outlandish theories seems to be a constant in the human condition. There were gullible people in the nineteenth century just as there were in the twentieth and still are in the twenty-first century. It seems doubtless that this segment of the population will continue to exist well into the twenty-second, twenty-third, or twenty-fourth centuries.
Besides the inevitable portion of any population who are simply ignorant and credulous, humans have an innate tendency to gravitate towards ideas (implausible or plausible) which suit their own agendas. Lazy people love stories about the adverse affects of exercise because these tales provide an excuse for their own lethargy. In modern times, the men who are quickest to report theories of impotence or prostate cancer to male cyclists are the individuals who really should be far more worried about their own risk of heart disease.
Stromberg's article also falls into the erroneous logic trap of claiming that because some feminists rode bicycles, all women who rode bicycles must have been feminists. (Not every white house is The White House...) Bicycles were wildly popular for everyone in the 1890s, regardless of their political leanings. Men and women were both writing about the freedom their bicycles gave them and the way that cycling enhanced their lives. In 1887 Mr. George Nellis reported: "...not until far beyond the grime and heat of [Chicago's] polluted atmosphere could the full exercise of unshackled freedom once more go running thro' my clotted veins..." In 1886, a bicycle proponent wrote in the Pall Mall Gazette, "Who knows but that before the next century dawns it will be recognized that the inventor of the bicycle has done more to revolutionize the religious, moral and social ideas of mankind than all the philosophers of our time?" (Ten years later this quote was more or less plaigiarized by Susan B. Anthony. Her version of the statement is quoted ad nauseum by modern feminists to legitimize the claim that the bicycle was a feminist tool; people forget that the original version referred to the benefits of the bicycle for men as well as women.)
As for the old chestnut about dress reform, during the cycling craze of the 1890s there were just as many women advocating skirts for cycling as endorsing bloomers—they just don't get quoted as often in modern writings because they don't fit into current agendas as readily. In 1896 Mary Bisland wrote:
Were the gift given us to look a bit into the future, what should we probably find the middle-of-the-twentieth girl wearing on her wheel—bloomers, very short tunics, or troserettes and similar abominations in the sight of grace and sweet feminity? Not if she is the direct descendant of her nineteenth-century grandmother, who here in these United States, spite of talk to the contrary, and in spite of the efforts of fashion, still sticks to her traditions and her skirts. Long may they wave, the petticoats in modest ankle-length folds of brown cloth or gray, since those are the best colors for cycling!"
An inspection of photographs of lady cyclists from the 1890s reveals that not only were most of them wearing skirts on their wheels, a great number of them were wearing corsets as well. Bloomer-clad cyclists appear in political cartoons from the period far more frequently than in actual photographs. Personally, my favorite lady-cyclist photo is a famous picture of Marie Curie with her bike, quite clearly corseted and wearing a lovely skirt.
"Some... people say that corsets should be discarded for cycling. This is not correct... corsets offer great support; they keep the figure from going all abroad, and protect the vital parts from chills. Special woollen-cased corsets are made by at any rate two manufacturers, who have spared no pains to provide a safe and good corset for cyclists."
(The reference to wool is made because that was considered the optimal material for all cycling clothes—male and female—in the nineteenth-century due to of its virtue of remaining a good insulator even when wet. With wool cycling gear, a rider could sweat through their clothes and not worry about catching cold before they got back home. Wool cycling clothing is still de rigeur for many cycling purists.)
Special corsets for cycling were very fashionable and eminently marketable, but a woman's everyday corset served the purpose just as well. Last weekend I myself completed a 100-mile ride in a 22-inch corset and a skirt, on a fifty pound bicycle. It can be done! I submit that the only bicycle face which resulted involved an upward-turning in the corners of the mouth.
 Nellis, George. Quoted by Hayes, Kevin J. An American Cycling Odyssey, 1887. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. p. 71.
 "Bicycling Notes of the Month." Outing, May, 1886. p. 240.
 Bisland, Mary L. "Woman's Cycle." Godey's Magazine, 1896, pp. 385-386.
 Erskine, F.J. Lady Cycling: What To Wear & How to Ride. 2014 edition, The British Library: London. Originally published 1897 by Walter Scott Ltd. p. 10.
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