Sometimes we tend to think the ancients and the so-called savages and sadly disadvantaged foreigners have strange medical practices, but we don’t have to look elsewhere for doctors gone bonkers….
Vox.com recently offered this little gem about a dark corner of late 19th century American medical care that sort of flourished for a while when bicycling was a new fad and all the rage.
Seems that (almost exclusively male) doctors took great pains to warn women that riding a bicycle could cause “bicycle face.” You know, bicycle face….
Here’s a quote from the Literary Digest in 1895: "Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one's balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted 'bicycle face . . .'"
And more: the “bicycle face” is “usually flushed, but sometimes pale, often with lips more or less drawn, and the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness . . .characterized by a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes."
You know, bicycle face….
I guess maybe you had to be a doctor to recognize the symptoms….
And another thing: you have to wonder where women bought those exercise outfits….