POUGHKEEPSIE — Join The Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park to celebrate the centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State with “Woman on a Wheel,” a history ride program on Sept. 9. Guest historian Kjirsten Gustavson will visit the site at 10 a.m. in her reproduction 1890s bicycle costume to talk about the impact of the bike on women’s social status in the years before the vote. After a short discussion, visitors will be invited to jump on their own bikes to join Gustavson on a 30 minute trip on the park’s trails. Lemonade and treats will be served at the Dutchess entrance gates, top of Washington street stairs at the ride’s end. Call 845-834-2867 to reserve your spot. Children 14 and younger are required to wear a helmet. We encourage participants to bring their own vintage, classic, antique bicycles to ride along with Gustavson.
During the late 1890s, bicycles changed the popular notion of what American femininity could be. Thousands of women in New York and beyond began to challenge their bodies in ways that had never been acceptable before. They adopted new clothing reforms and gained new independence with unfettered travel and even mechanical training. Susan B. Anthony once said of the bicycle, “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” This program will celebrate both the bicycle and the spirit of women’s independence.