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.

The Empire State

Twenty-four hours after entering Pennsylvania I make my exit across the boundary into the Empire State. The roads continue good, and after dinner I reach Westfield, six miles from the famous Lake Chautauqua, which beautiful hill and forest embowered sheet of water is popularly believed by many of its numerous local admirers to be the highest navigable lake in the world. If so, however, Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains comes next, as it is about six thousand feet above the level of the sea, and has three steamers plying on its waters. At Fredonia I am shown through the celebrated watch-movement factory here, by the captain of the Fredonia Club, who accompanies me to Silver Creek, where we call on another enthusiastic wheelman - a physician who uses the wheel in preference to a horse, in making professional calls throughout the surround-in' country. Taking supper with the genial "Doc.," they both accompany me to the summit of a steep hill leading up out of the creek bottom. No wheelman has ever yet rode up this hill, save the muscular and gritty captain of the Fredonia Club, though several have attempted the feat. From the top my road ahead is plainly visible for miles, leading through the broad and smiling Cattaraugus Valley that is spread out like a vast garden below, through which Cattaraugus Creek slowly winds its tortuous way.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Tuesday 22nd Jul 1884 (20:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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