Classic camera: Lady rider, November 1911

Mrs M C Cooke poses with a twin-cylinder Douglas

By 1911, Mrs Cooke was being employed by The Motor Cycle to give her impressions on various new ‘ladies’ models – as well as the Douglas, she sampled the new single-cylinder Royal Enfield and the lightweight Humber, among several others.

But Mrs Cooke’s primary love was a Triumph single; as she explained, when she began riding there was no choice – it was a heavyweight or nothing. First off she’d had a 2hp Minerva-engined Triumph, though her present Triumph featured a 3½hp own made engine. On this machine – with the frame ‘converted’ to a ladies’ style – she’d covered 3000 miles so far in 1911.

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Ladies’ models gained popularity in the immediately pre-First World War years, and continued to be offered well into the 1920s. They were distinguished by their dropped top frame rails, which allowed the ladies to dress in the style that the times dictated.

By the mid-1920s, society had changed enough so that a lady could ride a ‘normal’ machine, without too much scandal or comment! bike

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