Photo of an Edwardian Lady Cyclist

She poses in the studio with her shiny Humber Roadster,
Set against a drape with Roman columns and a tomb;
Blanched by the flash, she stands stiffly by her steed,
Like a bride at a wedding with a cycle for a groom.

In her modest braided jacket and her ribboned straw hat,
No one could protest that she’s improperly clothed:
No controversial breeches but a full-length skirt_ ’
Lead-weighted hems ensure nothing is exposed.

She holds the bike beside her like a partner in a dance:
Oil-cloth chain case, fat pneumatic tyres,
Patent slitted saddle, rear wheel wires ’
Satisfaction guaranteed for all her heart’s desires.

Small sepia woman, break out from your frame!
Thrilled by speed and motion, eyes all aflame,
Freewheel down the road to freedom,
A suffragette unchained!