What drives a pioneer? Chances are, answers will include concepts such as the desire to be the first; unbridled curiosity; and a thirst for adventure.
Rarely does gender emerge in the conversation. Since the dawn of motorized transportation, men have dominated the limelight, yet a little effort will reveal a world where women stood alongside men not only in daring escapades but also in creating true progress in the way we move about our world.
Beginning with bicycles, then cars and motorcycles, and finally airplanes, new modes of transport opened doors to women around the world. In 1896, leading suffragette Susan B. Anthony told reporter Nellie Bly that the bicycle had “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” A shocking eight years before that, Bertha Benz, wife and business partner of Carl Benz, had undertaken the world’s first long-distance auto trip, covering 65 arduous miles and making most of her own repairs along the way. Thirteen years later, Alice Ramsey would become the first woman to drive an automobile across the United States, and three years after that, journalist and pioneer aviatrix Harriet Quimby crossed the English Channel flying a Bleriot Monoplane.