The Woman on a Bike

The one-piece, zip-up leather-based racing swimsuit has been the authorized minimal customary for protecting competitors gear for over 60 years, however the query of who invented it has lengthy been topic to debate.  Film-star good-looking Geoff Duke made the outfit well-known in 1951, racing and successful for Norton, after his native tailor, Frank Barker, sewed one as much as Duke’s instruction.   He’d already been carrying a one-piece material undergarment beneath his two-piece leathers, made up by a ballet specialist in London, which precipitated a couple of “ribald feedback” from his team-mates. I’ll grant no one else wore a ballet onesie whereas racing in 1949, however the Director of Veloce Ltd, Bertie Goodman, had been carrying his personal one-piece leather-based swimsuit a couple of years prior, whereas racing his household’s product – a Velocette KTT – at venues just like the Ulster GP.  Duke definitely knew who Bertie was, as a uncommon manufacturing unit Director who really raced bikes, so the thought was round, as they are saying.

A younger Geoff Duke flat out aboard Norton’s new featherbed body Manx racer in 1951, famously carrying his one-piece racing leathers. Duke was movie-star good-looking and very talked-about with the press, and photographs of his one-piece racing leathers led to their speedy adoption by the motorbike racing scene. [The Vintagent Archive]

No person thought to ask who the primary feminine rider to put on a one-piece may need been, however we definitely know who, like Duke, made it well-known.  Anke-Eve Goldmann was using and competing on bikes (all the time BMWs) from the early Nineteen Fifties onwards, and had a sequence of customized leather-based outfits made for her, to swimsuit each climate situation.  She was keen on the mid-winter Elephant Rally, and had elephantine shearling-lined leather-based using fits made for touring in excessive chilly. For competitors, she had the thought of a one-piece leather-based swimsuit with a diagonal zipper throughout the chest, which made getting out and in a lot simpler for a girl.  She contracted the German leather-based agency Harro to make up her racing swimsuit, and pictures of AEG banked over on her BMW R69 made a world influence.  She was writing for magazines about racing on the time, particularly girls’s racing, and her articles will be present in print around the globe within the early Nineteen Sixties, in mags from Sweden to Tokyo, and within the USA in Cycle World.

Anke-Eve Goldmann along with her one-piece racing leathers, designed by her and made by Harro. Right here she is with the 2nd manufacturing BMW R69, wanting very completely satisfied along with her new machine. [The Vintagent Archive]

Anke-Eve was a full two metres tall, totally charming, lovely, and a fierce competitor on the observe.  She cherished racing above all, and endured abuse each from her household and racing males within the early Nineteen Fifties, as a result of a lady racing in post-war Germany was unthinkable.  Attitudes in the direction of her softened as she was ‘legitimatized’ by press consideration and her personal journalistic output.  Nonetheless, she was denied a racing license in Europe as a result of she was feminine, and was relegated to ‘girls’s races’ and regularity occasions. She was a feminist and founding supporter of WIMA, the Ladies’s Worldwide Bike Affiliation, and really a lot her personal individual, pursuing her personal objectives.  She had a fantastic many well-known associates and admirers, with whom she corresponded often.

A betrayal of friendship? André Pieyre de Mandiargues clearly based mostly his novella ‘La Motociclette’ on Anke-Eve Goldman. That is the primary version in English, printed as ‘The Bike’ in 1966, and the fabulous cowl artwork offers an correct impression of the contents. [The Vintagent Archive]

A kind of correspondents was French author André Pieyre de Mandiargues, who gained the Prix Goncourt along with his 1967 novel ‘La Marge’, made into a movie in ’68 by future pornographer Walerian Borowczyk, known as The Margin.  Borowczyk additionally made a movie that includes Mandiargues’ assortment of classic erotic toys (‘Une Assortment Particuliure’ – 1972), which supplies us an image of the author’s pursuits.  These have been already on full show in his 1963 novel ‘La Motociclette’, about a wonderful younger lady (Rebecca) who rides her Harley-Davidson from Strasbourg to Heidelberg for a tryst with a former lover, leaving her sleeping husband in mattress on her daybreak escapade.  Rebecca’s journey turns into an erotic frenzy because the vibration from her large twin brings her to orgasm, and in her distraction she crashes and dies.   She wears nothing beneath her one-piece leather-based using swimsuit, famously ‘bare beneath leather-based’, which was the European title of the movie created from the e-book in 1968, also referred to as ‘Woman on a Bike’, directed by Jack Cardiff, and starring Marianne Faithfull.

Marianne Faithfull in ‘Woman on a Bike’ (1968), directed by Jack Cardiff and pretty true to the novel. Ms. Faithfull’s using swimsuit was made by Lanvin, and was lined in fleece, with a knit yoke in entrance, a chunky silver sipper with ring pull, and was accompanied by a gentle vinyl helmet with leather-based trim and knit earpieces. She additionally wore a bike helmet within the using scenes. [The Vintagent Archive]

It’s abundantly clear Anke-Eve Goldmann was the mannequin for Rebecca in ‘La Motociclette’.  AEG was not serious about being a sexual icon, and the eroticization of her picture was galling: may a lady not be revered for her work with out sexualization? She quickly dropped journalism, and successfully disappeared.  She even switched manufacturers, discovering the new-generation BMW /5 sequence aesthetically disappointing, and as a substitute rode a super-hot MV Agusta 750S.  She was misplaced to historical past till 2009, when her photographs appeared on an obscure Flikr account, which shot across the ‘Web – the unique ‘who’s she?’  I questioned too, and dug exhausting to find Anke-Eve Goldmann’s story, which led to a gathering in Germany along with her ex-husband Hans, who gave me permission to make use of his photographs of AEG as I wanted.  However AEG refused to be interviewed; she’d felt burned by the movie in ’68, and another time in 2009, when her photographs started showing in leather-fetish web sites.  Whereas the cat(swimsuit) is out of the bag, we will nonetheless inform AEG’s story, and uncover the lady in these exceptional photographs.

Some say it was Bertie Goodman who invented the one-piece leather-based racing swimsuit: he was definitely seen carrying one earlier than Geoff Duke, as famous within the motoring press of the day. [The Vintagent Archive]
To learn extra in regards to the exceptional Anke-Eve Goldmann, observe this hyperlink. [The Vintagent Archive]


Paul d’Orléans is the founding father of He’s an creator, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, occasion organizer, and public speaker. Try his Writer Web page, Instagram, and Fb.