Thomas Stevens (born 24 December 1854, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England,died London, 24 January 1935) was the first person to circle the globe by bicycle. He rode a large-wheeled Ordinary, also known as a penny-farthing, from April 1884 to December 1886. He later searched for Henry Morton Stanley in Africa, investigated the claims of Indian ascetics and became manager of the Garrick Theatre in London.
Berkhamsted is a historic market town close to the western boundary of Hertfordshire, England. It is situated in the small Bulbourne valley in the Chiltern Hills, 26 miles (42 km) northwest of London. The town is a civil parish with a town council within the borough of Dacorum, based at the much larger town of Hemel Hempstead. Berkhamsted and the adjoining village of Northchurch are surrounded by countryside, much of it classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Circumnavigation is the complete navigation around an entire island, continent, or astronomical body. This article focuses on the circumnavigation of Earth.
The penny-farthing, also known as a high wheel, high wheeler and ordinary, was the first machine to be called a "bicycle". It was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, with its large front wheel providing high speeds and comfort. It became obsolete from the late 1880s with the development of modern bicycles, which provided similar speed amplification via chain-driven gear trains and comfort through pneumatic tyres, and were marketed in comparison to penny-farthings as "safety bicycles" due to the reduced danger of falling and the reduced height to fall from.
Stevens, known as Tom,was born in Castle Street, Berkhamsted, the son of William and Ann Stevens. His father was a labourer. Thomas had an older sister, Bridget, and younger, Jane. He went to Bourne Charity School, then became an apprentice grocer. His father emigrated to Missouri in 1868 but returned when his wife became ill and before the rest of the family could also go to America. Tom went with a half-brother but without his parents and sisters in 1871 and the rest of the family followed two years later. They moved to Denver and then to San Francisco, where he learned to ride a bicycle.
Denver, officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is named after James W. Denver, a governor of the Kansas Territory, and it is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.
Adventure Cyclist described him as "a man of medium height, wearing an oversized blue flannel shirt over blue overalls, which were tucked into a pair of leggings at the knee [and] tanned ' as a nut.'A mustache protruded from his face."It said: "A two-year stint in a Wyoming railroad mill ended when he was run out of town after it became known that he was importing British labourers in exchange for part of their salaries. He later found work in a Colorado mine where he came up with the idea of riding a bicycle across the country."
In 1884 he acquired a black-enameled Columbia 50-inch 'Standard' penny-farthing with nickel-plated wheels, built by the Pope Manufacturing Company of Chicago. He packed his handlebar bag with socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat that doubled as tent and bedroll, and a pocket revolver (described as a "bull-dog revolver", perhaps a British Bull Dog revolver) and left San Francisco at 8 o'clock on 22 April 1884. From Sacramento, Stevens travelled through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. En route, he was greeted by members of local bicycle clubs, most prominently the president of a chapter of the League of American Wheelmen in Laramie, Wyoming. He had never seen North America east of the Mississippi.He reached Boston after 3,700 miles on wagon trails, railways, canal towpaths and public roads, to complete the first transcontinental bicycle ride on 4 August 1884.
Pope Manufacturing Company was founded by Albert Augustus Pope around 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Connecticut in 1877. Manufacturing of bicycles began in 1878 in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Weed Sewing Machine Company factory. Pope manufactured bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles. From 1905 to 1913, Pope gradually consolidated manufacturing to the Westfield Mass plant. The main offices remained in Hartford. It ceased automobile production in 1915 and ceased motorcycle production in 1918. The company subsequently underwent a variety of changes in form, name and product lines through the intervening years. Yet all the way up to present-day, bicycles continue to be made available under the Columbia brand.
The British Bull Dog was a popular type of solid-frame pocket revolver introduced by Philip Webley & Son of Birmingham, England, in 1872, and subsequently copied by gunmakers in continental Europe and the United States. It featured a 2.5-inch (64 mm) barrel and was chambered for .442 Webley or .450 Adams cartridges, with a five-round cylinder. Webley produced smaller scaled .320 Revolver and .380 calibre versions later, but did not mark them with the British Bull Dog name.
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of Sacramento County. Located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in Northern California's Sacramento Valley, Sacramento's estimated 2018 population of 501,334 makes it the sixth-largest city in California and the ninth largest capital in the United States. Sacramento is the seat of the California Legislature and the Governor of California, making it the state's political center and a hub for lobbying and think tanks. Sacramento is also the cultural and economic core of the Sacramento metropolitan area, which had a 2010 population of 2,414,783, making it the fifth largest in California.
Harper's reported: "More than one-third of the route followed by Mr. Stevens had to be walked. Eighty-three and a half days of actual travel and twenty days' stoppage for wet weather, etc., made one hundred and three and a half days occupied in reaching Boston, the distance by wagon-road being about 3,700 miles. He followed the old California trail most of the way across the plains and mountains, astonishing the Indians, and meeting with many strange adventures."
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who heard Stevens speak at the Massachusetts Bicycle Club, said: "He seemed like Jules Verne, telling his own wonderful performances, or like a contemporary Sinbad the Sailor. We found that modern mechanical invention, instead of disenchanting the universe, had really afforded the means of exploring its marvels the more surely. Instead of going round the world with a rifle, for the purpose of killing something – or with a bundle of tracts, in order to convert somebody – this bold youth simply went round the globe to see the people who were on it; and since he always had something to show them as interesting as anything that they could show him, he made his way among all nations."
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright.
Stevens passed the winter in New York and contributed sketches of his transcontinental trip to Outing , a cycling magazine. It made him a special correspondent and sent him on the steamer City of Chicago to Liverpool. He landed there 10 days later, on 9 April 1885.He left his bicycle in the underground storerooms of the London and North Western Railway and went by train to London to arrange his crossing of Europe and investigate conditions in Asia. He was helped by an interpreter at the Chinese embassy who discouraged him from riding across Upper Burma and China.
He returned to Liverpool on 30 April 1885 and on 4 May made a formal start to his ride at Edge Hill church, where several hundred people watched him leave. He wrote:
It began raining within minutes.
He rode, wearing a white military helmetthrough England, passing through Berkhamsted, where he had been born. He recorded that roads in England were better than in America. He took the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe to cross to France and continued through Germany, Austria, Hungary (where he picked up a temporary cycling companion with whom he shared no language), Slavonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumelia, Turkey.
In Constantinople he rested among people who had heard of America, refitted with spare spokes, tires and other parts and a better pistol (a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson), waited for reports of banditry to subside, and then pedalled off through Anatolia, Armenia, Kurdistan, Iraq and Iran, where he waited out the winter in Teheran as a guest of the Shah.
Having been refused permission to travel through Siberia, he set off on 10 March 1886 through Afghanistan where he was expelled by local authorities. He took a Russian steamer across the Caspian to Baku; rail to Batoum; steamer to Constantinople and India. In the Red Sea his knowledge of mules was useful to the British Army. He cycled across India, noting that the weather was always hot and the Grand Trunk Road was excellent wheeling and free from bandits. Much of his description of life in India, however, suffers from being based on the opinions of experts rather than his own observations. Another steamer brought him from Calcutta to Hong Kong and southern China. He pedalled to eastern China, encountering great difficulty in asking directions in a language he couldn't pronounce. A Chinese official gave him refuge from rioters who were angry over a war with the French. From the coast he took a steamer to Japan, where he delighted in the calm of that country. The bicycle part of his journey around the world ends 17 December 1886, at Yokohama. His itinerary accounts "DISTANCE ACTUALLY WHEELED, ABOUT 13,500 MILES". Stevens returned by steamer to San Francisco, in January 1887.
Stevens' travels through Japan were reported in the Jijishinpou newspaper. Along the way, Stevens sent a series of letters to Harper's magazine detailing his experiences and later collected those experiences into a two-volume book of 1,000 pages, Around the World on a Bicycle, which is available in a single-volume paperback and publicly available at digital library projects. The price of an original has been put at between $300 and $400
The Pope Company preserved Stevens's bicycle until World War II, when it was donated to a scrap drive to support the war effort.
The New York World asked Thomas in 1888 to join its search in East Africa for the explorer Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley had travelled up the Congo but a year and a half had passed without news. Stevens called it "a grand opportunity; the one chance, mayhap, of a lifetime, to spring into fame on the stage of African exploit. How would I Found Stanley look in the libraries with I Found Livingstone?"
Stevens left New York by ship on 5 January 1889.His instructions, he said, were:
Stevens led a six-month expedition, writing for the newspaper of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and hunting big game. He found Stanley's camp in a race with the rival New York Herald and wrote his book, Scouting for Stanley in East AfricaIt concluded:
Stevens then reported from Russia, sailed the rivers of Europe, and investigated miracles claimed by Indian ascetics. His conclusions that "the stories of travelers, from Marco Polo to the latest witness of Indian miracles...are quite true" were greeted with scepticism and his career faltered.A planned tour of London with his Indian photographs fell through.
Stevens returned to England around 1895and married Frances Barnes (née Nation), widowed mother of the actresses Irene and Violet Vanbrugh. He became manager of the Garrick Theatre in London. He died in London of cancer of the bladder and was buried at St. Marylebone Cemetery in East Finchley, London.
His publications also include:
Around the World in Eighty Days is an adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club. It is one of Verne's most acclaimed works.
Sir Henry Morton Stanley was a Welsh journalist and explorer who was famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley reportedly asked, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley is also known for his search for the source of the Nile, his pioneering work that enabled the plundering of the Congo Basin region by King Leopold II of Belgium, and his command of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. He was knighted in 1899.
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Bicycle touring means self-contained cycling trips for pleasure, adventure, and autonomy rather than sport, commuting, or exercise. Touring can range from single-to multi-day trips, even years. Tours may be planned by the participant or organised by a holiday business, a club, or a charity as a fund-raising venture.
The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition of 1886 to 1889 was one of the last major European expeditions into the interior of Africa in the nineteenth century, ostensibly to the relief of Emin Pasha, General Charles Gordon's besieged governor of Equatoria, threatened by Mahdist forces. The expedition was led by Henry Morton Stanley and came to be both celebrated for its ambition in crossing "darkest Africa", and notorious for the deaths of so many of its members and the disease unwittingly left in its wake.
Jules Bastien-Lepage was a French painter closely associated with the beginning of naturalism, an artistic style that emerged from the later phase of the Realist movement.
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Tim Jeal is a biographer of notable Victorians and is also a novelist. His publications include a memoir and biographies of David Livingstone (1973), Robert Baden-Powell (1989), and Henry Morton Stanley (2007). Jeal was formally educated in London and Oxford, and lives in North London. He has a wife and three daughters.
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Ndugu M’Hali or Kalulu was an African slave and adopted child of the explorer and journalist Henry Morton Stanley. Kalulu died young but in his short life he visited Europe, America and the Seychelles. He had a book dedicated to him, a model in Madame Tussauds, and was a guest at Dr. Livingstone's funeral.
Frank George Lenz was an American bicyclist and adventurer who disappeared somewhere near Erzurum, Turkey, then in the Ottoman Empire, in May 1894, during an attempt to circle the globe by bicycle.
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George Adams Wyman was the first person to make a transcontinental crossing of the United States by motor vehicle. In 1903, Wyman rode his 1902 California Motorcycle Company motor bicycle from San Francisco to New York City in 51 days, finishing 20 days before Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson, the first person to cross the continent by automobile.
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George R. Bidwell was a pioneering bicycle salesman and manufacturer. From July 14, 1897 to April 3, 1902, he was Collector of the Port of New York.