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Introduction: The Quest to Control The Powerful Meanings of Bicycle Racing

Ari de Wilde

The bicycle has a unique status as a moniker of several things: a practical piece of transportation, a sporting tool, the imprimatur of modernity, and, relevant to this special issue, a symbol of gender and class equity. But the racing of bicycles by women has been oddly absent from the literature in sport history. Women have been part of the bicycle’s experience since the bicycle’s inception in the mid-nineteenth century. Yet until recently, one would be hard pressed to know of this lengthy tradition of women in cycling and, especially of, women’s racing. This special issue seeks to rectify this situation.