Christina (and Georgena Terry)

Rides a 1990s Georgena Terry bicycle. Shot on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA

Rides a 1990s Georgena Terry bicycle.
Shot on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA

There are bicycles in this world that we have forgotten. There were the first tandems, the penny-farthings, the recumbents, mountain bikes, triathlon bikes…the list goes on. But what about the women’s-specific bikes? For a long time, mass-produced bicycles were made only one way. If a woman wanted to ride a bicycle that fit her body, she had to get something custom designed especially for her. It seems that the industry lacked any sort of basic anatomical knowledge: women’s bodies, where it comes to leg and torso length, are pretty much opposite that of a man’s body. So if both a man and a woman could stand over, say, the top tube of a 56cm bicycle, the woman would have a harder time reaching the handlebars than the man would. Men have longer torsos than women do. So not only does this make for an uncomfortable fit, the force that a woman could apply to the pedals would be of a different efficiency than that of the man.

Enter the women’s-specific frame. Generally, they have a much shorter top tube length for the same seat tube height of a man’s bike. Georgena Terry has been building women’s-specific bikes since 1985. They bill themselves as the “Original Women’s Bicycling Company.” I’ve got to say, I like bikes that are a bit unusual…especially for my body. With a 650c front wheel and a 700c rear wheel, these bikes just look cool. Even a well-ridden one like Christina’s deserves to be remembered…it is representative of a company, and indeed a woman, who filled a niche market (a big niche, mind you) and kept going until the others followed suit. Well done. You can still buy a custom bicycle from Terry with SRAM Red(!) and all sorts of other goodies if you have the money. Well worth it to buy a legacy. See gallery below for more images!

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