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.

Buckeye yell

From Napoleon my route leads up the Maumee River and canal, first trying the tow-path of the latter, and then relinquishing it for the very fair wagon-road. The Maumee River, winding through its splendid rich valley, seems to possess a peculiar beauty all its own, and my mind, unbidden, mentally compares it with our old friend, the Humboldt. The latter stream traverses dreary plains, where almost nothing but sagebrush grows; the Maumee waters a smiling valley, where orchards, fields, and meadows alternate with sugar-maple groves, and in its fair bosom reflects beautiful landscape views, that are changed and rebeautified by the master-hand of the sun every hour of the day, and doubly embellished at night by the moon.

It is whispered that during "the late unpleasantness" the Ohio regiments could out-yell the Louisiana tigers, or any other Confederate troops, two to one. Who has not heard the "Ohio yell?" Most people are magnanimously inclined to regard this rumor as simply a "gag" on the Buckeye boys; but it isn't. The Ohioans are to the manner born; the "Buckeye yell" is a tangible fact. All along the Maumee it resounds in my ears; nearly every man or boy, who from the fields, far or near, sees me bowling along the road, straightway delivers himself of a yell, pure and simple. At Perrysburg, I strike the famous "Maumee pike" - forty miles of stone road, almost a dead level. The western half is kept in rather poor repair these days; but from Fremont eastward it is splendid wheeling.

The atmosphere of Bellevue is blue with politics, and myself and another innocent, unsuspecting individual, hailing from New York, are enticed into a political meeting by a wily politician, and dexterously made to pose before the assembled company as two gentlemen who have come - one from the Atlantic, the other from the Pacific - to witness the overwhelming success of the only honest, horny-handed, double-breasted patriots - the... party.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Friday 18th Jul 1884 (22:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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