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.

Altheim to Haag

While eating my first luncheon in Austria, at the village of Altheim, the village pedagogue informs me in good English that I am the first Briton he has ever had the pleasure of conversing with. He learned the language entirely from books, without a tutor, he says, learning it for pleasure solely, never expecting to utilize the accomplishment in any practical way.

One hill after another characterizes my route to-day; the weather, which has hitherto remained reasonably mild, is turning hot and sultry, and, arriving at Haag about five o'clock, I feel that I have done sufficient hillclimbing for one day. I have been wheeling through Austrian territory since 10.30 this morning, and, with observant eyes the whole distance, I have yet to see the first native, male or female, possessing in the least degree either a graceful figure or a prepossessing face. There has been a great horse-fair at Haag to-day; the business of the day is concluded, and the principal occupation of the men, apart from drinking beer and smoking, appears to be frightening the women out of their wits by leading prancing horses as near them as possible.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Thursday 28th May 1885 (19:30 +0200) | Add a comment | Permalink

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