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Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume 1

Thomas Stevens

Book Overview: 

Thomas Stevens was the first person to circle the globe by bicycle, a large-wheeled Ordinary. His journey started in April 1884 in San Francisco from where he cycled to Boston to take a steamer to England. Crossing England, France, Central Europe and Asia Minor before he was turned back at the borders of Afghanistan. He returned part of the way to take a ship to Karachi, from where he crossed India. Another steam ship brought him from Calcutta to Hong Kong, and from Shanghai he set over to Japan, finally ending his journey after actually cycling 13.500 miles in Yokohama, December 1886.

This is the first volume of his travel experiences, detailing the part of the journey from San Francisco to Teheran, where he spent the winter.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .At ten o'clock in the morning, July 17th, I bowl across the boundary line into Ohio. Following the Merchants' and Bankers' Telegraph road to Napoleon, I pass through a district where the rain has overlooked them for two months; the rear wheel of the bicycle is half buried in hot dust; the blackberries are dead on the bushes, and the long-suffering corn looks as though afflicted with the yellow jaundice. I sup this same evening with a family of Germans, who have been settled here forty years, and scarcely know a word of English yet. A fat, phlegmatic-looking baby is peacefully reposing in a cradle, which is simply half a monster pumpkin scooped out and dried; it is the most intensely rustic cradle in the world. Surely, this youngster's head ought to be level on agricultural affairs, when he grows up, if anybody's ought. From Napoleon my route leads up the Maumee River and canal, first trying the tow-path of the latter, and then relinquishing it for the very fair wagon-. . . Read More

Community Reviews

An tale of an amazing journey across the USA over a century ago. The language is a little dated, but the story is timeless. Very inspiring.

I loved this - the first person to ride a bike around the world! And not just any bike - a penny farthing!?!? (The single big wheel with a tiny back wheel bike.) The writing was a bit tortured so not the easiest read (it was written in 1887 - the language and some of the perspectives are dated). The

This is the travelogue of a man riding a penny farthing bicycle around the world, starting in San Francisco in 1884 he rode across road, wagon trail, gravel path and across fields and forded rivers and upon arriving at Boston decided he might as well go the rest of the way. The entire book is a litt

To be transparent I am related to and share the name of the author. This is a gem of literary genius. Clever nineteenth-century, real-life experiences of circumventing the world on a high wheel bike before there were decent roads. The feat is incredible, but the writing is even more so.

No, I haven't finished it yet. And yes, it really deserves five stars anyway. Stevens set out to circumnavigate the globe on a penny farthing bicycle in 1884. Yes, that's eighteen eighty-four to you, sonny, and you can pack away your visions of a 19th century progressive thinker with dreadlocks and

The narrator is the quintessential 19th Century white male. (I'm pretty sure he's British, but he starts his journey in the United States). Everything about his prose feels dated and steeped in the arrogance of his time and culture. There are some interesting things contained herein, and the feat of

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