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.

Policeman's Whistle

Leaving the bicycle at "Isham's " - who volunteers some slight repairs - I take a flying visit by rail to see Niagara Falls, returning the same evening to enjoy the proffered hospitality of a genial member of the Buffalo Bicycle Club. Seated on the piazza of his residence, on Delaware Avenue, this evening, the symphonious voice of the club-whistle is cast adrift whenever the glowing orb of a cycle-lamp heaves in sight through the darkness, and several members of the club are thus rounded up and their hearts captured by the witchery of a smile - a " smile" in Buffalo, I hasten to explain, is no kin whatever to a Rocky Mountain "smile" - far be it from it. This club-whistle of the Buffalo Bicycle Club happens to sing the same melodious song as the police - whistle at Washington, D.C.; and the Buffalo cyclers who graced the national league - meet at the Capital with their presence took a folio of club music along. A small but frolicsome party of them on top of the Washington monument, "heaved a sigh" from their whistles, at a comrade passing along the street below, when a corpulent policeman, naturally mistaking it for a signal from a brother "cop," hastened to climb the five hundred feet or thereabouts of ascent up the monument. When he arrived, puffing and perspiring, to the summit, and discovered his mistake, the wheelmen say he made such awful use of the Queen's English that the atmosphere had a blue, sulphurous tinge about it for some time after.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Wednesday 23rd Jul 1884 (22:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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