Around the World on a Bicycle

In 1884, the 29 year old Thomas Stevens set out from San Fransisco on the 'modern mechanical invention' of the Penny Farthing to circumnavigate the globe on his 'big wheel'. His book - "Around the World on a Bicycle" - was published in 1888 and his writings are presented here in blog form. Read more in the archive.


There seems to be quite a sprinkling of Spanish or Mexican rancheros through here, and after partaking of the welcome noon-tide hospitality of one of the ranches, I find myself, before I realize it, illustrating the bicycle and its uses, to a group of sombrero-decked rancheros and darked-eyed senoritas, by riding the machine round and round on their own ranch-lawn. It is a novel position, to say the least; and often afterward, wending my solitary way across some dreary Nevada desert, with no company but my own uncanny shadow, sharply outlined on the white alkali by the glaring rays of the sun, my untrammelled thoughts would wander back to this scene, and I would grow "hot and cold by turns," in my uncertainty as to whether the bewitching smiles of the senoritas were smiles of admiration, or whether they were simply "grinning" at the figure I cut. While not conscious of having cut a sorrier figure than usual on that occasion, somehow I cannot rid myself of an unhappy, ban-owing suspicion, that the latter comes nearer the truth than the former.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Friday 25th Apr 1884 (17:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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