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.


For several miles my route leads up the Mississippi River bottom, over sandy roads; but nearing Rock River, the sand disappears, and, for some distance, an excellent road winds through the oak-groves lining this beautiful stream. The green woods are free from underbrush, and a cool undercurrent of air plays amid the leafy shades, which, if not ambrosial, are none the less grateful, as it registers over 100 in the sun; without, the silvery sheen of the river glimmers through the interspaces; the dulcet notes of church-bells come floating on the breeze from over the river, seeming to proclaim, with their melodious tongues, peace and good-will to all. Rock River, with its 300 yards in width of unbridged waters, now obstructs my path, and the ferryboat is tied up on the other shore. "Whoop-ee," I yell at the ferryman's hut opposite, but without receiving any response. "Wh-o-o-p-e-ee," I repeat in a gentle, civilized voice-learned, by the by, two years ago on the Crow reservation in Montana, and which sets the surrounding atmosphere in a whirl and drowns out the music of the church-bells it has no effect whatever on the case-hardened ferryman in the hut; he pays no heed whatever until my persuasive voice is augmented by the voices of two new arrivals in a buggy, when he sallies serenely forth and slowly ferries us across.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Saturday 28th Jun 1884 (18:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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