First Bike Ride Around the Globe


The first person to bike around the world was Thomas Stevens. He cycled all of it on a type of bicycle called the bone shaker. It had a large front wheel, no brakes, and no gears, it cost him over US$2500 in today's dollars. Stevens even decided to undertake the journey before knowing how to ride a bike! His first step was purchasing the bone shaker, then learning how to ride it, and then he was off on April 22, 1884. Seven men before him, that we know of, had tried the feat however they all quit before the Missouri river. Stevens continued, heading East towards New York. In those days the roads through the Rocky mountains as well as the bridges crossing large rivers were not as easy to come by as now, nor as well developed. Due to the horrendous road conditions Mr. Stevens ended up walking nearly a third of his journey through the United States.

From New York he boarded a steamer to England, from there he traversed Europe, finding it surprisingly easy up until Constantinople. In Afghanistan he was arrested because he appeared suspicious riding such a bizarre vehicle.  In Tehran the experience was quite the opposite, Stevens was treated as a deity since they found him very impressive riding 4 feet high on such an amazing contraption. Next came India, where his only comments seemed to be summed up as, "it was hot". He skirted China, trying to avoid the nation since its citizens thought he was the devil. Stevens said he felt lucky to not have been killed. He finishing the tour in Yokohama, Japan on December 17, 1886. Mr. Stevens total distance was 13,500 miles. 

The book, "Around the World on a Bicycle", was written by Stevens himself and chronicles his journey, it was published in 1887.

Thomas Stevens
Thomas Stevens