Foes of the Wheel Have Trotted Out Another Scarecrow

BICYCLE VOICE NOW.

Enemies of Wheeling Say It Affects the Vocal Chords.

All the talk of the bicycle face having practically died out, the foes of the wheel have now trotted out another scarecrow claiming that as a result of wheeling women are becoming loud talkers, with an unpleasant quality of voice. They assert that wheeling, especially with the mouth open, has a detrimental effect on the vocal chords, and when to this is added the strain to which the voice is subjected in an effort to keep up a conversation while cycling the danger seems something more than a shadow. Some persons who have made voice culture a life study are inclined to fall in with these views, asserting that exercise on the wheel is responsible for an apparent alteration in the voices of women. One vocal teacher says:

“While bicycle riding people frequently fill their lungs with dust, and this is, of course, injurious. Then the exercise leaves the system exhausted and unable to resist the bad effects of excessive perspiration. A severe cold is detrimental to the speaking voice, and when these colds are frequent, as they are with bicyclists, they will ultimately result in permanent injury. If women would ride but a few miles at a time and would keep their mouths closed there would be no danger, but I find that many of my pupils cannot refrain from overdoing the sport. Professional women realize the harm that bicycling does to their voices, but they say that they cannot bear to give up wheeling. Calling to one another as wheelwomen frequently do cannot help but strain the voice is persisted in.”

Another vocal instructor hold totally opposite views. Said she: “I am strongly in favor of cycling for women. It is a most healthful exercise, and so cannot fail to be beneficial to he singing and speaking voice. I do not believe the old-fashioned theory of things affecting the vocal chords directly. Of course it is possible to strain the voice but I should think this most unlikely when wheeling. The very tendency of the wheel is to keep the rider quiet. If riders should call from one to the other when outdoors their speaking voices might be affected, but the most strident speakers are often the sweetest singers. The soft, well-modulated voice of the English girl does not give us as many brilliant examples of the song bird as the less pleasant and somewhat nasal tones of the American. Nine out of every ten successful singers abroad to-day are Americans. This is because the other girls are never allowed to expand their lungs with the same delightful freedom. A good digestion is the first requisite toward good singing. I should say poor cooks have more to do with spoiling the voice than all the wheels in Christendom. A theory has been advanced that the rapid breathing necessary when riding the wheel is injurious. This is wrong, as the vocal chords are completely protected when not in use.” — Philadelphia Press.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Aug 5, 1897

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