• Some of you already know of my cycling research but I figured it might be interesting to more of you, especially as the exhibition opens soon.

    I’m a sociologist at Goldsmiths and I’ve mainly been doing research into contemporary cycling cultures but for the past year I’ve focused on historic women’s cycling from 1890-1900. In particular I’m exploring the social, physical and political challenges women cyclists faced and addressed through their clothing – and in doing so I’m making links to why cycle wear remains a contentious issue today (for both women and men).

    Rather than just doing archival research I’m collaborating with lots of people (a tailor, weaver, artist and filmmaker) to make a collection of Victorian cycle costumes from patents lodged by inventive women in the 1890s.

    We’re making ‘convertible’ cycling costumes – complete with hidden weights, pulleys, buttons, stitched channels, waxed cords and other mad built-in technologies – that enabled women to look like they were wearing ‘ordinary’ street wear yet transformed into ‘rational’ cycle wear when needed.

    They’re cool and kind of bonkers.

    The launch is on Friday 13th June at LMNH (Old Street).

    There’ll be stories and demonstrations of convertible cycling costumes (Dr Cake will be wearing one), a life-sized wooden cycling automaton, live screen-printing of suffragette cycling visual culture, music and more.

    **You’re all invited. **

    More at www.bikesandbloomers.com

    Now, just have to get it all done in time!


  • Subbed, looks very interesting.

    Will the outfits be available to purchase? ;)

  • I like the look of the automata. Have seen some awesome automatons in museums but beyond that nobody makes them anymore.


    Don't worry I'm not expecting anything this complex but if you have 5min then this is awesome to see.

    240 Year Old Robot - YouTube

  • Really looking forward to this! Will do my best not to Indra the outfit I'm being trusted with.

  • Bothwell - thanks! There'll be various costumes to try on the night and we'll be making all of our patterns open source and available online for people to make their own. There's definitely been some interest in buying a few pieces, especially with the Tweed Run coming up..... but, sheesh, we are stretched in making just one collection of five costumes for show.

    (especially when one Victorian costume consists of 5+ pieces - they didn't half overdress)

    Clockwise - Great link. I'm a bit obsessed with automata and that writing boy machine is astonishing. I also love the swan.


    If our cycling automaton manages to stay dressed, on the bike and pedal without falling off, then I'll consider that a win.

  • Kat's been working massively hard on this. It's going to be amaze. Please come if you can!

  • Sounds ace. In the diary.

  • wow! I'm there :)


  • Yay. Be great to have you there!

    So much going on at present with sewing and fittings and automaton building. Speaking of which, look - she moves!

    Cycling automaton - in development on Vimeo

  • We are pretty delighted with it so far - even though she's turned out to be a heel pedaler. With mad ankles like hers, that over rotate and lock her legs, causing her to jack knife off the bike, the best option was to fix her heels to the pedals for stability.

    A missing tooth or two on the old cog is adding a jump and I've told her to sort out that slack chain.

    All in all, not bad for a life-sized timber woman riding a bike.

  • looks awesome! will be there =)

  • It's Amelia Bloomer's birthday today!


  • I think this is a good place to post up Kate Beaton's comic on the dangerous "velocipedestrienne"


  • Lots happening today in the studio in prep for next week's launch at LMNH.

    I've been using a Go-Pro ceiling camera mount taking pics on 10sec intervals for the past few weeks to document the making process.

    Yes, my backup drives are struggling, but the time-lapse film will kick ass.


  • Thanks Clockwise.

    It's on tonight!
    I've almost finished button holes and finishing touches..... so many buttons!

    Hoping to see lots of people tonight. It's sunny. Come early for a beer and some nibbles. There will be live screen printing of kick-ass women doing bikey things on t-shirts (for free). There will be fab women in cool cycle wear (though in this weather we'll be quite warm). I'll tell some stories about how they came to design and wear these costumes. Then we'll demo how they transform with in-built pulleys, weights, buttons and cords. All in all not a bad Friday night.

  • Seems a bit too east...

  • Bugger, totally didn't register this til just now. Pants!

  • Wow. What a night! Thanks to everyone who came to the Bikes & Bloomers event and everyone who has sewn like crazy for the last few months. It was fantastic end to a project. The academic party is WIN.

  • What academic party? :)

    Fantastic event, Kat, from the talk to screenprinting. One of the events of the year for me. Six months still to go but I don't think that assessment is going to change!

  • Brilliantly put together. Stunning costumes,illuminating stories.
    A great night. Thanks Kat and your awesome team.

  • @kat 's Guardian article today writing up some of her research.


    I also have to correct myself ^^ --this ended up being my favourite event of the year.

  • Book launch at LMNH this Wednesday, too - hoping to make it up to London's famous London for this.

  • Ah, annoyingly I can't do Wednesday. If you're there a bit earlier setting up, Kat, I might pop by to get a copy of the book off you, if that works? I'll get the book in any case, though.

    Needless to say, you should have been spamming us with news of the event. :)

  • I went, I bought a copy, I saw people who mainly live in my computer (and at least one fabled LFGSS cap in the wild), I drank beer. All excellent stuff (well, except maybe London's famous London beer prices...)

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Bikes & Bloomers - Victorian women’s cycle wear exhibition - LMNH Friday 13th June

Posted by Avatar for kat @kat