Danish Bike-Riding Mom Remembered

Did you know that it’s not only the male Danes who made history in Denmark land? Many of us are aware that it’s mostly men from Denmark responsible for making remarkable achievements in the fields of science and technology, governance, arts and sports. But the women should not be ignored because they, too, contributed to Danish history.

Just take the case of Susanne Lindberg who proved to the Denmark people and the rest of the world that a woman or a mother, in particular, can become a great cyclist like any other man. It was in 1897 when this petite mother of seven made history by breaking the world record for biking 1,000 kilometers in a span of 54 hours and 18 minutes. That’s almost two and a half days of pedaling.

Lindberg’s goal was to prove that women can succeed in cycling and that the sport does not have any adverse effect on a woman’s reproductive system. And so at the age of 24, this lightweight woman (weighing only at 45 kilos) took part in a training class of the Danish Bicycle Club and initially joined the club’s Star Race. She ended in fifth place in that race which was not bad for a beginner.

Through the years, Lindberg competed in all races available during her time not minding what her male opponents would say. Her record breaking feat took place in 1897 that required biking for two full days covering the roads of Zealand. Fortunately, Susanne’s future husband Charles Hansen was very supportive of her all throughout the race even financing her team’s overnight accommodation in Copenhagen. Hansen, at that time, was a known cyclist as well and spokesperson for physical education in Denmark.

Two years after her triumph, Susanne married Hansen and bore seven children with him proving to all that biking does not affect a woman’s capability to bear kids.

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