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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 velocipedes 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). Among Canada's first women professional athletes and the first woman who was truly successful as a high-wheel racer, Armaindo began her career as a strongwoman and trapeze artist in Chicago in the 1870s before discovering high-wheel bicycle racing. Initially she competed against men, but as more women took up the sport, she raced them too. Although Armaindo is the star of Muscle on Wheels, the book is also about other women cyclists and the many men - racers, managers, trainers, agents, bookmakers, sport administrators, and editors of influential cycling magazines - who controlled the sport, especially in the United States. 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.
In the second edition of this groundbreaking social history, M. Ann Hall begins with an important new chapter on Aboriginal women and early sport and ends with a new chapter tying today's trends and issues in Canadian women's sport to their origins in the past. Students will appreciate the more descriptive chapter titles and the restructuring of the book into easily digestible sections. Fifty-two images complement Hall's lively narrative.
The Girl and the Game goes well beyond the customary chronicling of women in sport. Ann Hall examines the big picture: Canadian women's sport history in its rightful context as a cultural struggle. These are the stories of ordinary women and extraordinary athletes who challenged the status quo. Meticulously researched and richly crafted. Sports writer, Mary Jollimore.
The Girl and the Game traces the history of women's organized sport in Canada from its early, informal roots in the late nineteenth century through the formation of amateur and professional teams to today's tendency to market women athletes, especially Olympians, as both athletic and sexual. When women actively participate in the symbols, practices, and institutions of sport, what they do is often not considered real sport, nor in some cases are they viewed as real women. What follows from this notion of sport as a site of cultural struggle is that the history of women in sport is also a history of cultural resistance.