With women's cycling on the rise, doctors are taking a closer look at a phenomenon called "Bike Face" that plagued lady cyclists in the 1800's. Back then, stories of women "looking tired", having "dark circles under their eyes", or having extreme symptoms like "clenched jaws and bulging eyes" ran rampant as women experimented with a new invention called The Bicycle. Back then little proof existed, but thanks to new telescopic photo technology we now have evidence that the phenomenon is real.
Back in 2012, during the Flèche Wallonne, Marianne Vos was seen with her mouth gaping open causing wrinkles to form around her sides of mouth and leaving her with an expression described as "painful".
Image: Cor Vos
Doctors believe this expression was caused by pedaling round and round on The Bicycle for hours at a time resulting in a burning sensation in her legs which eventually spread to her mouth. Had she stopped pedaling sooner this could have been avoided. Doctor's say, "If women insist on riding The Bicycle, stop pedaling immediately if you feel symptoms before the disease speeds to the face."
Another occurrence appeared earlier this year during the Vuelta El Salvador when Amy Charity was seen with her jaw hinged open and shoulders slouched in what appears to be bad posture. Underneath her sunglasses, doctors also believe her eyes are bulged and bloodshot. "Her jaw appears to be locked in place", one doctor describes. "It's very similar to the 'clenched jaw' symptom described by our ancestors which was often accompanied by unappealing eye conditions. This appears to be a very serious case."
Image: Heidi Swift
Doctors believe these symptoms are caused by a combination of increased blood circulation and adrenaline, both byproducts of operating The Bicycle. We tried to reach Amy Charity to see if she has been able to close her mouth since that race but she was unavailable for comment.
Perhaps the most disturbing proof was seen during this year's Giro Rosa where Emma Pooley was seen racing with blood pouring out of her nose. "This is getting out of hand", one doctor said. "In this condition, how are these girls going to get married, have babies, and lead normal, happy lives?"
Image: Flaviano Ossola
When asked about the potential health benefits caused by The Bicycle the doctor responded, "Sure, some studies have shown benefits such as a healthier heart, weight loss, and overall happier moods. But does any of that matter when your jaw is permanently ajar and your complexion, at times, appears pasty?"
And these aren't the only cases. Occurrences of "Bike Face" appear to be on the rise. Doris Schweizer was seen with lock jaw and bad posture after racing a full stage at the Giro Rosa.
Image: Anton Vos
Japanese National Champion, Mayuko Hagiwara's neck appears to have sunk into her shoulders due to hours spent hunched over The Bicycle. Doctors are not sure if she will ever have a neck again.
Back in the 2012 Flèche Wallonne, while Vos suffered from "Pain Face", Evelyn Stevens suffered from "Angry Face" as it appears The Bicycle has turned her into an animal. During this race one bystander overheard a family member say, "I just hope we can get our little Evie back."
Image: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Currently there are no known cures for "Bike Face". Doctor's have tried horse tranquilizer injections and injecting girl's faces with fillers such as Collagen and Jell-o, however doctor's have been unsuccessful in softening these hard looks. Doctors warn such treatments could actually do more harm than good, resulting in a more severe disease known as "Bitchy Resting Face".