The First Bike-Packer

Can you imagine riding around the world on a penny farthing (high-wheeler)? For those of you who don’t know, penny farthings were built in the 1870s. They have a large wheel, up to 60″, in front and a small wheel, up to 12″, in back.

Back to riding a penny farthing around the world. In 1884, Thomas Stevens was the first person to do that.

For a bike-packer, Thomas Stevens carried the bare minimum. According to Bicycle and Bikes,  Stevens’ handle-bar bag only contained fresh socks and an extra shirt. He also packed a mackintosh (that doubled as bedroll AND tent), and a 38 Smith and Wesson. I thought Bob and I traveled light!

To see the world as it was back then is something I wish I could do. Since I can’t, the next best thing I can do is read. Project Gutenberg has Thomas Stevens’ accounts of his experiences. There are two eBooks: Around the World on a Bicycle – Volume 1 and Around the World on a Bicycle – Volume 2.

You can find the (free) eBooks on Project Gutenberg. For your convenience, the link will go directly to the page the two books are listed.