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.


Spending the night at Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, I pull out toward London on Thursday morning, and near Watford am highly gratified at meeting Faed and the captain of the North London Tricycle Club, who have come out on their tricycles from London to meet and escort me into the metropolis. At Faed's suggestion I decide to remain over in London until Saturday to be present at the annual tricycle meet on Barnes Common, and together we wheel down the Edgeware Road, Park Road, among the fashionable turnouts of Piccadilly, past Knightsbridge and Brompton to the "Inventories" Exhibition, where we spend a most enjoyable afternoon inspecting the thousand and one material evidences of inventive genius from the several countries represented.

Five hundred and twelve 'cyclers, including forty-one tandem tricycles and fifty ladies, ride in procession at the Barnes Common meet, making quite an imposing array as they wheel two abreast between rows of enthusiastic spectators. Here, among a host of other wheeling celebrities, I am introduced to Major Knox Holmes, before mentioned as being a gentleman of extraordinary powers of endurance, considering his advanced age. After tea a number of tricyclers accompany me down as far as Croydon, which place we enter to the pattering music of a drenching rain-storm, experiencing the accompanying pleasure of a wet skin, etc

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Saturday 09th May 1885 (19:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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