Cycling Books from the 1880s


Pelotome’s guide to early travel cycling books.

The 1880s.

~ Over the Pyrenees on a Bicycle – A.M. Bolton (1883).

April 1880 – revised and renamed in 1881 and 1891.

The Bicycle Road Book.

Famous gymnast and author of the pioneering 1869 book “The Bicycle – Its Use and Action”, Charles Spencer, returned in 1880 with yet another influential guide, “compiled for the use of bicyclists and pedestrians. Being a complete guide to the roads of England, Scotland, and Wales, giving the best hotels, population of the towns &c.” It was an improvement on his 1876 guide “The Modern Bicycle” with more than 130 routes in England and Wales, and a further five in Scotland, plus the Isle of Man and Isle of Wight, indexing over 5,000 towns, listing principal hotels, distances and directions for cyclists to follow.

Following the introduction of the tricycle, a new and revised edition appeared in April 1881, and again ten years later, as “The Cyclists’ Road Book: compiled for the use of bicyclists, tricyclists and pedestrians.

  • by Charles Spencer.
  • Published by Griffith and Farran, London.

June 1880 – Published in Dec 1880.

Nauticus on His Hobby Horse.

“Or the adventures of a sailor during a tricycle cruise of 1427 miles” was the humorous log book from “Nauticus”, the nom de plume of Charles Edward Reade, a 38 year old Royal Navy Commander on extended shore leave pedalling around Edwardian England.

Covering 689 miles on a Coventry Machinists Co. Rotary tricycle from Liverpool to Margate, via The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, in June and July 1880, he would continue on a “superior tricycle” (possibly a Coventry “Club”, based on an illustration on the front cover) for 442 miles to Land’s End in September and October, before a third trip took him from 296 miles from Margate to Burghley House, near Peterborough, in the same month.

  • by Nauticus (Charles Edward Reade).
  • published by William Ridgway, London.

May 1880 – Published Dec 1880.

Icycles of the Wheel World.

“The Xmas Annual” of The Wheel World magazine contains a treasure trove of information about the state of cycling in 1880, including the eight page chapter “Whitsuntide Wanderings of a Wharfdale Wheelman” which details the one day journey from Leeds to London in Spring 1880; “A Deaf and Dumb Ghost” tells the story of a ghost at the Red Lion pub in Handcross on the Brighton to London ride; while “The Incident” details a humorous misunderstanding on a summer 1879 ride from Bonar Bridge in the Scottish Highlands; “A Circular Trip” gives a brief account of a 103 mile day ride from Chichester to Winchester, returning via Southampton. The section “What to Eat, Drink, and Avoid” provides an insight into the isotonics of the day; “a small quantity of Liebig’s extract of beef in a quarter of a pint of warm water is very good, with some stale bread in it, and is very portable”, while “a pint of Bass or Guinness will be appreciated at dinner, and a glass of old port afterwards is not amiss.”

  • edited by Lacy Hillier and Harry Etherington.
  • published by H. Etherington, London.

May 1881.

First Annual Meet of the League of American Wheelmen.

An important record of one of the most historic cycles in world history, the “official programme” of the first annual meet of the League of American Wheelmen in Boston, on May 30th, 1881, included “a map of the route, showing hotels, headquarters, etc.” a list of league officers, marshals, and entertainment committee, the formation and route of parade, location of hotels with special rates, and entries for the races.

Founded in Newport, Rhode Island, exactly a year earlier, on May 30, 1880, by Kirk Munroe – the editor of Harper’s Young People magazine – and Charles E. Pratt – author of the influential 1879 book “The American Bicycler” – the L.A.W. would go on to become the leading cyclists organisation in the United States, boasting 103,000 members at its height in 1898.

  • by L.A.W. (Massachusetts Division)
  • Published by Press of the Bicycling World.
  • Sketch, on left, of the event by J. Pennell.

August 1881 – published in 1883.

Over the Pyrenees on a Bicycle.

Well known for his foreign tours in Bicycling News, under his nom de plume “Obadiah”, secretary of the Crichton Bicycle Club, Alfred M. Bolton’s “A Bicyclist’s Adventures Among the Spaniards; Médoc, Guienne, Gascony, Navarre, Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Castile” is an interesting account of his August and September 1881 cycle tour, with his friends Harold “Hal” Goodwin (of the same cycle club) and Gregorio Vignau de Lazcano (of the Cosmopolitan Bicycle Club of Paris), through the “comparatively unexplored” sunny “land of romance, dusky sierras, and historical associations”, on a “4 ft. 4 in. ‘Rucker’” with a “roomy and expansive ‘Clytie’ travelling bag”, armed with a small, handy pocket revolver and a huge dagger, in anticipation of encountering “lots of brigands and wild animals”.

  • by Alfred M. Bolton.
  • published by The Strand Publishing Co., London.

June 1882 – revised in 1883, 1884 and 1889.

The Roads of England and Wales.

One of the most important books ever published in the history of bicycle touring, and far more in depth than Charles Spencer’s road books, “an itinerary for cyclists, tourists, and travellers; containing an original description of the contour and surface with mileage of the main (district and principal cross) roads in England and Wales, and part of Scotland; particularly adapted to the use of bicyclists and tricyclists; together with topographical notes of the chief cities and towns; also a list of hotels and inns in each town, suitable for cyclists was the work of Charles Howard, a member of both the Wanderers’ Bicycle Club (of Clapham Common) and the Bicycle Touring Club (renamed the Cyclists’ Touring Club in 1883 to take into account the popularity of the tricycle, particularly with women, who were unable to ride the “Ordinary” high bicycle).

Based on the “Paterson’s Roads” coaching guide of 1826 – which had become obsolete due to the introduction of the steam train – , it was a large book originally published in June 1882 and, by May 1884, four editions had already been released. A fifth and final corrected edition of the original book would be published in March 1889. The book would also spawn the cheaper and smaller pocket-sized “The Handy Route Book of England and Wales”, in 1885, with “An Itinerary and Road Book of Scotland” following in 1887.

  • by Charles Howard (of the Cyclists’ Touring Club).
  • originally published by Letts, Son & Company, London.
  • 1889 edition published by Mason & Payne, London.

June 1882 – published in 1883.

Nauticus in Scotland.

Charles “Nauticus” Reade returned with his second humorous log book, which was also partly published in the Boy’s Own Paper, “A Tricycle Tour of 2,642 Miles : Including Skye & the West Coast” – on his new rear-stearing Cheylesmore tricycle. Starting in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in June 1882, he cycled to Crieff; from where he made a circular tour to Stonehaven, before embarking on a 42 day tour of Scotland, in July and August; heading as far north as John O’Groats, before returning to Penrith.

  • by Nauticus (Charles Edward Reade).
  • published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co., London.

June 1882 – published in 1883.

A Bicycle Trip Through Norway and Sweden.

As well as “Over the Pyrenees”, Alfred Bolton had previously written “The Rocky North; a summer holiday among the fjelds, fjords and fosses of Norway”. He would revisit “the land of the fair-haired Norsemen”, with his “trusty bicycle as sole companion”, in June 1882, recounting his trip from Gothenburg to Vänersborg in Sweden, and from Christiania (Oslo) to Bergen in Norway for a brief three part series, published in the July 1883 pages of The Boy’s Own Paper. Never released as a book.

  • by Alfred M. Bolton.
  • published as a series within The Boy’s Own Paper.

April 1884 – revised and extended in April 1887.

The C.W.A. Guide Book.

The Canadian Wheelmen’s Association‘s guide “containing descriptions of Canadian roads, hotels, consuls, etc., with the constitution, by-laws and racing rules of the association,” was the first North American road book to be released and, among many other route reports, includes the brief account “400 Miles in Northern Ontario” made in August 1883.

  • by H.B. Donly and W.E. Tisdale.
  • Published by The Canadian Wheelmen’s Association, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

April 1884 – revised and enlarged in May 1885 & August 1886.

The Wheelman’s Hand-Book of Essex County.

“Containing brief sketches of the various cities and towns of the county, with a list of their objects of interest; a directory of hotels, clubs, consuls and executives, road routes, etc. Also, the history of the league of Essex County wheelmen,” One of the first known cycling guides in North America, it was published “to fill a long felt want” with the authors claiming that Essex County, in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, “is probably more frequently traversed by wheelmen than any other locality in this state. or in fact any other. The reputation of its roads is high and the hospitality of its landlords is known full well by the traveling community.” The second edition remained the same, only with more adverts, while a third edition in 1886 was rewritten.

  • by George Chinn and Fred E. Smith.
  • Published by George Chinn, Marblehead, Massachusetts and Fred E. Smith. Ipswich, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

April 1884 – Published 1887.

Around the World on a Bicycle.

“From San Francisco to Teheran” was the first illustrated volume of 29 year old English immigrant Tom Steven’s pioneering ride around the globe. The book covers the first half of the novice rider’s journey on his fifty-inch Pope “Columbia” high-wheeler, with a handlebar bag containing socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat that doubled as a tent and bedroll, and a pocket revolver.

Leaving California, on 22nd April, 1884, he reached Boston on 4th August, 1884, some 3,700 miles later (a third of which had to be walked) – becoming the first cyclist to cross the United States in the process, With Outing magazine stepping in as a sponsor – reporting on his progress throughout – he sailed from New York to Liverpool, continuing his journey on 4th May, 1885, to London and then Paris, making his way through Germany, Austria and Hungary, onward through Slavonia (Croatia), Serbia, Bulgaria, and Rumelia (European Turkey), resting in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey. Continuing on through Anatolia, Armenia, Kurdistan, and Iraq, he eventually arrived in Tehran, Iran, on September 30th, 1885, where he stopped for winter as guest of the Shah,

  • By Thomas Stevens.
  • Published by Sampson, Lowe, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London.

May 1884

Wheels and Whims.

The first known published book dedicated to female cycling, “An Etching” is the charming and insightful fictional novel about four ladies out on a tricycle adventure together in New England along the banks of the Connecticut River, from Hartford to Essex.

The writing offers a real insight into not just female cycling at the time – the four cyclists are insulted by men and young boys along the route – but also into the arguments for women’s right to vote and equal rights to work, as well as the treatment of mentally ill patients at the Connecticut Hospital for Insane at Middletown,

  • by Florine Thayer McCray & Esther Louise Smith
  • published by Cupples, Upham & Company, Boston.

July 1884 – revised in 1888, ’90, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’96, ’97 & ’98.

Hand-Book – Massachusetts Division, L.A.W.

Leading the way for what would become the most influential series of cycling guides ever printed in America, if not the world, the premier road book from the League of American Wheelmen was the “First annual hand-book, 1884-85” of their Massachusetts division. Compiled by the chief consul of the branch, it contained 21 routes, descriptions, and lists of towns “with the qualities of the riding in each”, and would set the standard for the L.A.W. annuals to come. Renamed in 1888 as the “Road and Hand Book of Massachusetts and Long Island”, it ran until its 13th edition in 1898.

  • compiled by Edward K. Hill.
  • published by J.P. Burbank, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, of the final 1898 edition).

August 1884 – published in July 1885.

A Canterbury Pilgrimage.

Described by the Daily News as “the most wonderful shillingsworth that modern literature has to offer,” the first published illustrated book from London-based American tricyclist Elizabeth Rose Pennell and her artist husband Joseph Pennell, saw the couple pay homage to Chaucer’s 14th Century collection, “The Canterbury Tales”. by retracing the 70 mile route, over three days, from Russell Square in London to Canterbury Cathedral on a Coventry Rotary high-wheel tandem tricycle.

  • by Joseph and Elizabeth Rose Pennell.
  • Published by Seeley and Company, London.

April 1885 – revised in May 1886 & March 1888.

Cyclist’s Road Book of Boston and Vicinity.

This book from the chief consul of the League of American Wheelmen (Boston Division) contains 41 routes all starting from Trinity Square, with directions given by street names and a brief description of the road surface. This was increased to 55 routes by the time of the second edition, a year later. Many of the routes had earlier appeared in Charles E. Pratt’s 1879 “American Bicycler”.

  • complied by A.L. Atkins.
  • printed by A.L. Atkins, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, of the 1886 edition).

May 1885 – revised 1886, ’87, ’88, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’96, ’97, ’98, & 1900.

Road Book of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“With the reported roads of Long Island and Staten Island, and the principal through routes of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, including road maps of New Jersey, Orange Riding District, Staten Island, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Riding District, and Long Island” was the first edition of the League of American Wheelmen (Pennsylvania division) member’s annual to appear in 1885, published in a handy 6½” x 3¼” oblong format and covering 8,000 miles through 1,150 towns in 110 routes.

Highly praised and influential, a second edition appeared a year later, collectively representing the members of three separate divisions of the L.A.W., containing maps, descriptions and stats for over 12,000 miles around Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The final editions were split into separate booklets (four books in 1897: South Eastern, North Eastern, Central, and Western sections; and two books in both 1898 and 1900: Eastern and Western).

  • compiled, designed and arranged by Henry S. Wood.
  • printed by H.S. Wood, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, of the 1889 edition).

June 1885.

The Handy Route Book of England and Wales. Part 1: – Southern England.

Also known as “Letts’s Route Book”, the cheaper and smaller pocket-sized version of Charles Howard’s more elaborate road book “being a complete key to the main (direct and cross) roads in England and Wales; useful for all road travellers, cyclists, tourists, and pedestrians; with a list of the hotels and inns in each town was originally set to be released in three parts, as cyclists “‘doing’ Southern England, would not necessarily require to be also burdened with the guides to the roads of Northern England, or even of Middle England, and vice versa.” Released in June 1885, the publishing house would fall into liquidation a few months after releasing the first instalment, “Southern England, South of and inclusive of the line of the Bath and Bristol road.” A second edition was published in 1886 by cycling map specialists, Mason & Payne.

  • by Charles Howard.
  • published by Letts, Son & Company, London.
  • second edition by Mason & Payne, London.

June 1885.

Bull & Bowen’s Road Book of Western New York and Hand Book of ‘cycling Accessories.

Another influential guide which was credited with setting the style and format for cycling road books to come, Buffalo New York bicycle dealer and ‘cycling accessories importer and manufacturer Bull & Bowen produced this wonderful pamphlet covering 1,200 miles over 44 routes, with distances, towns, road surfaces, gradients and directions.

  • compiled by W.S. Bull.
  • published by Bull & Bowen, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.

July 1885 – Published October 1887.

Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe.

Setting out from Glasgow on the 3rd July, 1886, and cycling to Edinburgh to catch the steamer to Hamburg, Hugh Callan details his 1,500 mile, 33 day journey “on wheel down Europe from the German ocean to the Aegean Sea”, on a Singer “British Challenge” high-wheeler, taking in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade, into Turkey (what is now Serbia and North Macedonia) and on to Athens, before catching a steamer home from Corinth, Greece.

The second part of the book is dedicated to his earlier July 1885 trip from Carlisle to Hull, and 1,100 miles “on wheel up the Rhine Valley, from Amsterdam to Geneva, and back by Antwerp,” occupying 23 days, while Part Three follows his six week walking tour “‘on the tramp’ in Belgium and France,” in 1881.

  • By Hugh Callan.
  • Published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, London.

August 1885.

In and Around Cape Ann.

“A Hand-Book of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and its immediate vicinity for the wheelman tourist and the summer visitor” was one of the earliest cycling guides in North America. Beautifully illustrated, including photographs, the little manual served up bicycle rambles in New England, on “this prominent headland jutting out into the sea, the waters of Massachusetts Bay washing its southern shore, those of Ipswich Bay its northern, and the waves of the broad Atlantic its eastern, while the towns of Essex and Manchester form its western boundary.”

  • by John S. Webber Jr.
  • printed at the Cape Ann Advertiser office, Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

September 1885 – published November 1886.

Land’s End to John o’ Groats on a Tricycle.

“Being a full account of Mr. T.R. Marriott’s marvellous ride written by Tom Moore, a member of the Sutton Bicycle Club and the editor of the Tricycling Journal. Captain of the Nottingham Bicycle Club, T.R. Marriott’s 1885 ride “from one end of the kingdom to the other”, on a Marriott & Cooper “Humber” tricycle, had smashed all records, covering the 900 miles in 6 days, 15 hours and 22 minutes.

Obviously familiar with the route, Tom Moore had also accompanied J. H. Adams, “the well-known Facilist”, of the Lewisham Bicycle Club, on the same route a year earlier, in 1884. The ‘Facile’ was the first ‘safety bicycle’ produced, albeit still a form of “high-wheeler” but with a smaller front wheel (36″–42″) than the ‘ordinary’ or ‘penny farthing’ (50″-56″).

  • by Tom Moore.
  • printed by H. Etherington, London.
  • (image, of the Humber Tricycle not from book).

September 1885 – published in 1888.

Our Sentimental Journey.

“Through France and Italy”. Following on from “A Canterbury Pilgrimage“, London-based American tricycling couple Elizabeth and Joseph Pennell had continued their journey from Canterbury to Florence, on their honeymoon in the summer of 1885, although had not yet put it into writing before releasing the third part of the trip, “Two Pilgrims’ Progress” or “An Italian Pilgrimage”, a year earlier in 1887.

Belatedly, the second leg of their ride on a Humber tricycle – from Dover to Lyon and Rives (where their trip abruptly ends prematurely), – is detailed in this wonderful 1888 book, inspired by the travels of Tristam Shandy in Laurence Sterne’s 1768 novel “A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy”.

  • by Joseph and Elizabeth Rose Pennell.
  • Published by Longmans, Green & Co., London.

October 1885 – published in U.S.A., Dec 1886, & U.K., Jan 1887.

Two Pilgrims’ Progress.

Following on from “A Canterbury Pilgrimage“, London-based American tricycling couple Elizabeth and Joseph Pennell had continued their journey from Canterbury to Florence, on their honeymoon in the summer of 1885, although had not yet put it into writing. Instead, they first chose to release the account of their third stage “from fair Florence to the eternal city of Rome: delivered under the similitude of a ride wherein is discovered the manner of their setting out, their dangerous journey, and safe arrival at the desired city; and behold they wrought a work on the wheels” in October and November 1885.

Originally serialised in The Century, it was then published in the U.S.A., before a British edition of the book appeared under the different name, “An Italian Pilgrimage.”

  • by Joseph and Elizabeth Rose Pennell.
  • Published by Roberts Brothers, Boston, Massachusetts, and by Seeley & Co., London.

Dec 1885 – revised in 1888, 1892, 1895 & 1896.

Hand-Book of the League of American Wheelmen, Missouri Division.

The first edition of the handbook for the League of American Wheelmen (Missouri division) contained no mention of roads.

  • compiled by E.M. Senseny.
  • printed in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, of the 1895, fourth edition).

March 1886 – Published 1888.

Around the World on a Bicycle.

“From Teheran to Yokohama” was the second illustrated volume of Tom Steven’s pioneering ride around the globe and covers the second half of his journey on a fifty-inch Pope “Columbia” high-wheeler, from Persia to Japan.

After spending five months in Tehran, he recommenced his journey from the Persian capital on 10th March 1886, and, by a mix of cycling, ocean steamers, trains and river boats took in Afghanistan – where he was arrested and turned back, – Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, India (including what is now Pakistan), Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan, reaching Yokohama, on 17th December, 1886, and from where he caught a steamer back to San Francisco in January 1887, almost three years after leaving home and an estimated 13,500 miles of actual cycling,

The Pope Manufacturing Company preserved Stevens’s bicycle until World War II, when it was tragically scrapped in an effort to support the war effort.

  • By Thomas Stevens.
  • Published by Sampson, Lowe, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London.


An Itinerary and Road Book for Scotland.

Published by cycling map specialist Mason & Payne – who had continued to sell many of the Letts back catalogue – a Scottish version of Charles Howard’s in depth “The Roads of England and Wales” appeared, “being a complete guide to the main roads of Scotland and its principal islands; particularly describing their hill-contour and surface, and adapted for the use of cyclists, tourists and road travellers, together with topographical notes and references to antiquities, natural curiosities and places of interest; and giving special information as to hotels and inns in each town,

  • by Charles Howard.
  • published by Mason & Payne, London.
  • (image, left, from Howard’s “Handy Route Book”, 1885)

April 1886 – Published August 1886.

Two Trips to The Emerald Isle.

“I. – A racing trip to Dublin. II. A touring trip to Killarney.” is a humorous account, released under the pseudonym “Faed”, of a London tricycle racer’s trip to Dublin for a competition “one April”, (24th-26th April 1886) in which he managed to also take in a ride to Enniskerry and Powerscourt, followed by an August trip to Killarney with members of the Finsbury Park Cycling Club.

An “Edition De Luxe” was also released of the book, which included twenty photographs taken by the author on cabinet-sized cards.

A well known cycling journalist and editor of Bicycling Times and Touring Gazette, “Faed” – an anagram of “deaf” – was the nom de plume of Arthur James Wilson, who had lost his hearing at the age of 12, after contracting scarlet fever. He joined Dunlop tyres in 1890, relocating to Ireland to work at their Dublin offices.

  • by “Faed” (Arthur J. Wilson).
  • Illustrated by George Moore.
  • Published by A.J. Wilson, London.

April 1886 – Published 1887.

Pedal and Path.

Told in the form of an edited and enhanced collection of letters originally published to the Hartford Evening Post, Across the Continent awheel and afoot” was a seven month, 11,000 mile tour of America on a 46″ Pope “Expert Columbia” high-wheeler, ridden from Hartford, Connecticut, to San Francisco, California, by George Burton Thayer, a member of the Connecticut Bicycle Club,

  • By George B. Thayer.
  • Published by Evening Post Association, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

May 1886 – revised and extended in 1892, 1895, 1896, 1897 (among others).

Hand-Book of the League of American Wheelmen, Ohio Division.

The vest pocket-sized upright 6¾” x 3½” second edition of the League of American Wheelmen (Ohio division) member’s annual was one of the first to offer road reports for local towns, with brief routes and hotel details. The first edition appeared a year earlier, in March 1885, with racing rules and records, but did not include any road descriptions. Members were encouraged not to lend the book to “outsiders”.

  • compiled by T.J Kirkpatrick.
  • printed by Cromwell & Kirkpatrick, Springfield, Ohio, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, of the July 1892 edition).

June(?) 1886.

Road-Book of Long Island.

“containing, also, the best riding of New York and New Jersey, within fifty miles of New York City and the through routes to New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Boston, Albany, Philadelphia etc. including cycling maps of Brooklyn and Orange riding districts and part of Long Island.” was the first road book from the League of American Wheelmen (New York State division). “Published under the auspices of the Brooklyn Bicycle Club” in a handy pocket sized landscape format, it is absolutely packed with routes, road conditions and descriptions, and was the first L.A.W. release to include fold out maps.

Consul to both the Brooklyn Bicycle Club and L.A.W. New York division, as part of his research, Albert B. Barkman covered a bona fide 8,000 miles on his bicycle in 1886 – a record to be credited to any American cyclist at the time. He also found time to contribute valuable articles about his travels to the cycling press under his nom de plume, “Bonerges” or “Bon”.

  • compiled by Albert B. Barkman.
  • printed by Franklin Print House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
  • (image, left, supplied by NY Historical Society).

January(?) 1887.

Hand-Book and Road-Book of New York.

Albert B. Barkman’s second road book for the League of American Wheelmen – of which he was now Bookmaster and Chairman of their Bureau of Information – was largely an updated and extended amalgamation of W.S. Bull’s Western New York road book with his own 1886 Long Island guide, “containing also the principal through routes of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio; with road maps of New York State and the New York City, Brooklyn, Long Island, Buffalo, Staten Island, Orange and Philadelphia riding districts.”

  • compiled, designed & arranged by Albert B. Barkman.
  • printed by E. Stanley Hart & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A..


The Handy Route Book of England and Wales. Part 2: – Middle England.

Almost immediately following the release of “Part 1 – Southern England“, Letts, Son & Co. publishing house went into liquidation, and it wasn’t until three years later that the second instalment of Charles Howard’s pocket-sized version of his route book appeared with a new home for “Middle England (with Wales), North of and inclusive of the Bath and Bristol road. up to and inclusive of an irregular line, drawn from the mouth of the River Mersey to the Wash, and running through Liverpool, Warrington, Manchester, Sheffield, Mansfield, Newark, Sleaford and Boston.”

  • by Charles Howard.
  • published by Mason & Payne, London.
  • (image, left, from Part 1, second edition)

June 1888 – Published May 1924.

Trips to Hell.

And other countries” was George Thayer’s 564 page insightful follow-up to his 1886 “Pedal and Path” ride across America. Aged 71 at the time of publication in 1924 – some four years before his death – it followed his many trips around every corner of the globe, mainly taken between 1912 and 1922 on foot, train and boat, however it also includes brief accounts of his 1888 bicycle ride through Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany, and France, as well as a summer 1897 ride in Canada.

  • By George B. Thayer.
  • Published by Case, Lockwood & Brainard, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

July 1888 – published in 1889.

Our Journey to the Hebrides.

The Pennells returned with their fourth travelogue, although not strictly a cycling book as they ditched their trusty tricycle – a decision they would regret – instead travelling around the Scottish Highlands on foot.

Originally written for the “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine“, (September to November, 1888), they described the trip as being “the most miserable” they had undertaken and it is written throughout from a cyclist’s perspective: “Used as we both were to cycling, the slowness and monotony of our pace was intolerable. We longed for a machine that would carry us and our knapsacks with ease over the hard, dustless road.”

  • by Joseph and Elizabeth Rose Pennell.
  • Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London.

August 1888 – Published 1895.

From the Clyde to The Jordan.

Narrative of a bicycle journey” was the first illustrated account by a rider of a “modern day bicycle”, and followed Hugh Callan’s ride from Glasgow to Jerusalem, which had previously appeared seven years earlier as a 24 part series of articles in the Glasgow Herald between 12th September 1888 and 26th February 1889.

Charting the author’s progress on a “Singer” safety bicycle though France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, to Turkey – which he explored in depth, – before sailing on to Beirut (Lebanon) and Jaffa, (now Tel-Aviv, Israel), where he cycled on to Jerusalem, After four months on the road, and 2800 miles cycled, he caught a steamer back to Britain via Egypt.

Callan – also the author of “Wanderings on Wheel and on Foot Through Europe” – described himself as the first “Knight of the Cycle and the Pen” to “have gone forth to conquer and describe” South-Eastern Europe and Asia Minor, dismissing Thomas Stevens’ efforts by saying “everybody knows, he did not so go around the world, or anything like it”. Two years prior to the book being published, he was ordained as the Reverend of Catrine Parish Church in Ayrshire, Scotland, before moving to Montrose in 1898.

  • By Hugh Callan.
  • Published by Blackie & Son, London.

November 1888 – Published 1890.

Round About The World on Bicycles.

“The pleasure tour of G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes, Melbourne Bicycle Club, Australia,” follows George Burston and Harry Stokes on their journey around the world, setting off from Melbourne, on 1st November 1888, and taking in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Egypt, Palestine, Asia Minor, Middle East, Sicily, Italy, Europe, England, Scotland, Ireland, and – without their bicycles – the U.S.A. and Hawaii, arriving back in Australia on the 14th December 1889.

Throughout the journey, their updates were also published in The Australasian. while the 56-inch Henry Bassett & Co. “Victory” high-wheel bicycle used by Burston is now in the Museums Victoria collection.

  • by G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes.
  • Published by George Robertson and Company, Melbourne, Australia “for private circulation only”


“Road Books are by no means a new invention, but without beginning so far back as the Itinerarium of Antoninus— the earliest specimen extant of a Road Book — it will suffice to mention Cary’s and Paterson’s Roads, both of which ran through many editions between 1780 and 1830, an interval that embraces the heyday of the coaching period.

With the introduction of railways, travelling by road was gradually discontinued, and coaching almost died out. When, however, the bicycle was invented, the ‘Queen’s highway’ once more became extensively used, and wheelmen traversed the length and breadth of the island.”

– The Roads of England and Wales, 1882.

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