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.

Brush with the law

The roads are found rather sandy east of the pike, and the roadful of wagons going to the circus, which exhibits to-day at Norwalk, causes considerable annoyance. Erie County, through which I am now passing, is one of the finest fruit countries in the world, and many of the farmers keep open orchard.

Staying at Ridgeville overnight, I roll into Cleveland, and into the out-stretched arms of a policeman, at 10 o'clock, next morning. "He was violating the city ordinance by riding on the sidewalk," the arresting policeman informs the captain. "Ah! he was, hey!" thunders the captain, in a hoarse, bass voice that causes my knees to knock together with fear and trembling; and the captain's eye seems to look clear through my trembling form. "P-l-e-a-s-e, s-i-r, I d-i-d-n't t-r-y t-o d-o i-t," I falter, in a weak, gasping voice that brings tears to the eyes of the assembled officers and melts the captain's heart, so that he is already wavering between justice and mercy when a local wheelman comes gallantly to the rescue, and explains my natural ignorance of Cleveland's city laws, and I breathe the joyous air of freedom once again.

Three members of the Cleveland Bicycle Club and a visiting wheelman accompany me ten miles out, riding down far-famed Euclid Avenue, and calling at Lake View Cemetery to pay a visit to Garfleld's tomb. I bid them farewell at Euclid village.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Sunday 20th Jul 1884 (14:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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