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.

Up to Clipper Gap

Up here I find it preferable to keep the railway track, alongside of which there are occasionally ridable side-paths; while on the wagon roads little or no riding can be done on account of the hills, and the sticky nature of the red, clayey soil. From the railway track near Newcastle is obtained a magnificent view of the lower country, traversed during the last three days, with the Sacramento River winding its way through its broad valley to the sea. Deep cuts and high embankments follow each other in succession, as the road-bed is now broken through a hill, now carried across a deep gulch, and anon winds around the next hill and over another ravine. Before reaching Auburn I pass through "Bloomer Cut," where perpendicular walls of bowlders loom up on both sides of the track looking as if the slightest touch or jar would unloose them and send them bounding and crashing on the top of the passing train as it glides along, or drop down on the stray cycler who might venture through. On the way past Auburn, and on up to Clipper Gap, the dry, yellow dirt under the overhanging rocks, and in the crevices, is so suggestive of "dust," that I take a small prospecting glass, which I have in my tool-bag, and do a little prospecting; without, however, finding sufficient "color" to induce me to abandon my journey and go to digging.

Before reaching Clipper Gap it begins to rain; while I am taking dinner at that place it quits raining and begins to come down by buckets full, so that I have to lie over for the remainder of the day. The hills around Clipper Gap are gay and white with chaparral blossom, which gives the whole landscape a pleasant, gala-day appearance. It rains all the evening, and at night turns to heavy, damp snow, which clings to the trees and bushes.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Saturday 26th Apr 1884 (22:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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