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29 year old Thomas Stevens was the first person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle. He rode a high-wheeled “ordinary” bicycle known as a penny-farthing, from 1884 to 1886. All his possessions fit neatly into his handlebar bag including socks, a shirt, a raincoat (which doubled as tent and bedroll), and a pocket revolver. Thomas left San Francisco in April 1884 and rode over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and onward through Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming via wagon trails, railways, canal towpaths and public roads. In August 1884, Thomas finally reached Boston, Massachusetts for a total of 3700 miles making him the first person to complete a transcontinental ride on a bicycle.
After a wintering in New York City and contributed sketches of his trans-American trip to Outing magazine, he boarded a steamer to Liverpool, England. In May 1885, Thomas resumed his ride making the ferry crossing to France and continuing through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slavonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumelia,and Turkey. He then peddled on through Anatolia, Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran and finally Teheran where he was the personal guest of the shaw.
Half the world away from where he began, Thomas was denied access into Siberia. Forced to backtrack through Afghanistan, Thomas caught multiple ships before finally making it India where he resumed his peddling via the Grand Trunk Road. Finally he boarded steam ship to Hong Kong and eventually cycled Japan before returning to the United States. In total, Thomas pedaled more than 13,500 miles. He used his recollections of the trip to write articles that appeared in the April, May, June, and July 1885 issues of Outing magazine. Eventually he chronicled all his adventures in his two-volume work, Around the World on a Bicycle, which was published in January 1887. – Adapted from Expedition Portal
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru