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.

Arrival in Liverpool

At noon on the 19th we reach Liverpool, where I find a letter awaiting me from A. J. Wilson (Faed), inviting me to call on him at Powerscroft House, London, and offering to tandem me through the intricate mazes of the West End; likewise asking whether it would be agreeable to have him, with others, accompany me from London down to the South coast - a programme to which, it is needless to say, I entertain no objections. As the custom-house officer wrenches a board off the broad, flat box containing my American bicycle, several fellow-passengers, prompted by their curiosity to obtain a peep at the machine which they have learned is to carry me around the world, gather about; and one sympathetic lady, as she catches a glimpse of the bright nickeled forks, exclaims, "Oh, what a shame that they should be allowed to wrench the planks off. They might injure it;" but a small tip thoroughly convinces the individual prying off the board that, by removing one section and taking a conscientious squint in the direction of the closed end, his duty to the British government would be performed as faithfully as though everything were laid bare; and the kind-hearted lady's apprehensions of possible injury are thus happily allayed. In two hours after landing, the bicycle is safely stowed away in the underground store-rooms of the Liverpool & Northwestern Railway Company, and in two hours more I am wheeling rapidly toward London, through neatly cultivated fields, and meadows and parks of that intense greenness met with nowhere save in the British Isles, and which causes a couple of native Americans, riding in the same compartment, and who are visiting England for the first time, to express their admiration of it all in the unmeasured language of the genuine Yankee when truly astonished and delighted.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Sunday 19th Apr 1885 (16:00 +0000) | 2 Comments | Permalink

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