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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-road. The Ma. . . 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.

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 a...more

Entertaining and amazing tale of pluck and courage with the usual arrogant bravado, racist and entitled attitude of the time. Too many erudite and perceptive statements to quote, occasional laugh out loud moments along with prescient sentiments and prodigious run on sentences; “ These pine forest...more

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...more

I've been slogging through this for several months now. Parts of it were interesting and the flowery language made me laugh out loud a good many times. Overall, though, it wasn't phenomenal and I'm in no gigantic hurry to do volume 2.

I'm not really finished with this book but I have to get off the bike, I simply cannot pedal anymore. When I started this book about Thomas Stevens and his 1880's journey around the world on his Penny Farthing bicycle, I thought it was a little over 300 pages long. This is because I had not click...more