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.

Rattlesnake

Near Willow Island I come within a trifle of stepping on a belligerent rattlesnake, and in a moment his deadly fangs are hooked to one of the thick canvas gaiters I am wearing. Were my exquisitely outlined calves encased in cycling stockings only, I should have had a "heap sick foot" to amuse myself with for the next three weeks, though there is little danger of being "snuffed out" entirely by a rattlesnake favor these days; an all-potent remedy is to drink plenty of whiskey as quickly as possible after being bitten, and whiskey is one of the easiest things to obtain in the West. Giving his snakeship to understand that I don't appreciate his "good intentions" by vigorously shaking him off, I turn my "barker" loose on him, and quickly convert him into a "goody-good snake;" for if "the only good Indian is a dead one," surely the same terse remark applies with much greater force to the vicious and deadly rattler. As I progress eastward, sod-houses and dug-outs become less frequent, and at long intervals frame school-houses appear to remind me that I am passing through a civilized country. Stretches of sand alternate with ridable roads all down the Platte. Often I have to ticklishly wobble along a narrow space between two yawning ruts, over ground that is anything but smooth. I consider it a lucky day that passes without adding one or more to my long and eventful list of headers, and to-day I am fairly "unhorsed" by a squall of wind that-taking me unawares-blows me and the bicycle fairly over.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Tuesday 10th Jun 1884 (15:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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