A Ride from the Past

About a month ago I posted some reflections on bike ridership among women in Egypt and its possible relation to the state of female emancipation, be it as a driver or indicator. In that entry I discussed a men-only bike really organized by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), to promote cycling as a greener more sustainable mode of transportation. Some days ago, I came across the photo below of a 1950 advertisement for the vespa, which I immediately knew I would be sharing here in the context of the above post. 

There is a lot that can be said about this ad from the fifties in contrast to the 2012 men-only bike rally photo, about how this seeming progressiveness can be undone in a little over half a century. I am currently searching for reliable resources on the history of woman movements in Egypt to add to my to-read list (I will definitely be sharing any interesting findings here), because I believe it is when we understand how we arrived at the present that we are better equipped to ride into the future against the waves of repression and conservatism – but in all cases, we can always use our bikes to ride against those, quite literally.


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