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.

Leaving of Liverpool

Four o'clock in the afternoon of May 2nd is the time announced, and Edge Hill Church is the appointed place, where Mr. Lawrence Fletcher, of the Anfield Bicycle Club, and a number of other Liverpool wheelmen, have volunteered to meet and accompany me somedistance out of the city. Several of the Liverpool daily papers have made mention of the affair. Accordingly, upon arriving at the appointed place and time, I find a crowd of several hundred people gathered to satisfy their curiosity as to what sort of a looking individual it is who has crossed America awheel, and furthermore proposes to accomplish the greater feat of the circumlocution of the globe. A small sea of hats is enthusiastically waved aloft; a ripple of applause escapes from five hundred English throats as I mount my glistening bicycle; and, with the assistance of a few policemen, the twenty-five Liverpool cyclers who have assembled to accompany me out, extricate themselves from the crowd, mount and fall into line two abreast; and merrily we wheel away down Edge Lane and out of Liverpool.

English weather at this season is notoriously capricious, and the present year it is unusually so, and ere the start is fairly made we are pedaling along through quite a pelting shower, which, however, fails to make much impression on the roads beyond causing the flinging of more or less mud. The majority of my escort are members of the Anfield Club, who have the enviable reputation of being among the hardest road-riders in England, several members having accomplished over two hundred miles within the twenty-four hours; and I am informed that Mr. Fletcher is soon to undertake the task of beating the tricycle record over that already well-contested route, from John O'Groat's to Land's End. Sixteen miles out I become the happy recipient of hearty well-wishes innumerable, with the accompanying hand-shaking, and my escort turn back toward home and Liverpool - all save four, who wheel on to Warrington and remain overnight, with the avowed intention of accompanying me twenty-five miles farther to-morrow morning.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Saturday 02nd May 1885 (20:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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