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The Bike Bacillus
by [?]

The crisis is indeed acute; still we may rely on science to save us. It is possible that the first step in that direction has been already taken, for is not the insanity germ discovered by the New York doctor responsible for the “bicycle craze” as well as the reform frenzy? And if a “free-silver lunatic” or “goldbug crank” can be permanently cured by the simple expedient of boring a hole in his lumbar region and drawing off the cerebro-spinal fluid, and in it the microbes that build wheels in his head, is there not hope that the bicycle habit may be altogether abolished by the return of the “fiends” to mental normality? Now that Dr. Babcock has learned to cast out devils, will not the world be redeemed? Cert! Let the Women’s Rescue League take courage, and bask in the sunny optimism of the ICONOCLAST. We’ll soon have all the various brands of bacteria in the bouillon; then there’ll be nobody to rescue, nothing to reform, and the Leaguers and the public can take a much needed rest.

In all seriousness, I opine that the bike is a harmless instrument when properly handled. The trouble is not so much with the evasive machine as with the woman who straddles it. It will carry its rider to church as rapidly as to the Reservation. Doubtless many women employ it to seek opportunities for evil–as a means of attracting the attention of libidinous men; but had the bike never been built, they would find some other way into the path of sin–would get there just the same. There were courtesans before it came; there will be demimondaines ages after its departure. Mary Magdalen either walked or rode a mule Aspasia was a “scorcher,” but she couldn’t “coast.” Helen of Troy never saw a pneumatic tire. Semiramis preferred a side-saddle. Cleopatra didn’t attract Col Antony’s attention by mounting a machine in the market place. The bike is no more an incentive to bawdry than is a wheelbarrow. It doesn’t make a woman depraved; it only renders her ridiculous.