Two women with bicycles, Aroostook County, ca. 1910. Isaac Simpson, photographer. Collection of the Maine State Museum. Maine State Museum collections

AUGUSTA — Yes, it’s true — women rode to suffrage on bicycles.

Join the Maine State Museum, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine State Library in a free family event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, rain or shine, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and learn about the benefits of safe, relaxed bike riding. All activities begin in front of the Maine State Museum, 230 State St., and will be held rain or shine.

The day’s events begin at 10 a.m. with a bicycle rodeo in the parking area in front of the Maine State Museum. Geared to ages 4 to 10, the rodeo is an obstacle course designed to allow children to have fun while practicing bike handling and safety skills. The obstacle course includes mini roadways, traffic signs, crosswalks and other roadway features.

The rodeo also includes a “helmet check” to ensure all helmets are fitted correctly. An “ABC” bicycle check will also be performed to check the air pressure in bicycle tires, the effectiveness of brakes and condition of the chain. A bike mechanic will be on site to assist with any necessary repairs. The rodeo concludes at noon. A liability waiver must be signed by a parent or guardian in order for kids to participate. All bike riders must wear a helmet.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will lead a relaxed slow ride starting at the Maine State Museum and continuing to and along the Kennebec River Rail Trail and back. The 2.5-mile ride is for bicyclists of all ages and ends at noon. Participants are welcome to use more of the trail on their own if they wish. A signed liability waiver form is required for all riders. Helmets are mandatory.

Meanwhile, back at the Maine State Museum and Maine State Library, free activities continue the theme of the importance of bicycling to the movement for women’s right to vote. Bicycling and other sports brought changes to women’s clothing. Join a bicycling and suffragist fashion contest at 10:30 a.m. Come dressed as a suffragist or in a favorite biking costume from the past. Prizes will be awarded. Get creative and make a suffrage sash to show support for women’s right to vote. Finally, visit the Maine State Library and the Maine State Museum (free admission all day) to learn more about women’s long road to the vote.

The bicycle coalition is a statewide organization that has led the effort since 1992 to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education advocacy, legislation and encouragement. Learn more at bikemaine.org.


Comments are not available on this story.