Friday, December 28, 2007

Annie Londonderry's Excellent Adventure

I found a link to this book on the Fixed Gear Gallery website and picked up a copy at Powell's Books in Portland. Annie was quite a character: Mother of three, self-created celebrity, 19th century feminist and arguably the first woman to circumnavigate the earth on a bicycle. OK, she took a few trains and ships along the way but she did in fact pedal over 10,000 miles on a bicycle. Alone. In 1894. I guess what makes her blog-worthy is the fact that her bike was remarkably similar to the one I rode this afternoon: A fixed gear machine with diamond frame, leather saddle and pneumatic tires. Unlike mine, hers had wooden rims and no brake. Although she had a pretty casual relationship with the truth when reporting her adventures, hers is an inspiring story if only for the sheer physical accomplishment. I found myself thinking of her earlier today as I ground out a hill in 46/17 and I suspect that won't be the last time she pays a visit to my neck of the woods.

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