Cycling in Austria.

Pelotome –
around Austria on a bicycle.

Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe – Hugh Callan (1887).

My Life and Times

by Jerome K. Jerome

From £4,75

1874 – published in 1875

Paris to Vienna by Bicycle.

In this 32 page book, W. Saunders recounts Frenchman M. A. Laumaillé’s notable 760 mile, 12 day journey of October 1874, “the longest bicycle tour on record”, from the French to the Austrian capital on an English machine. The journey, “of upwards of 760 miles in spite of bad roads, disgraceful treatment by villagers, heavy rains, and many other discouragements” was also wildly reported in international medical journals at the time, due to Laumaille’s invention of a natural tonic made from liqueur de cocoa, which “supported him and gave him strength.”

  • by W. Saunders.
  • Published by Tinsley Brothers, London.
  • image, left, proved by University of Bristol Library.

July 1886 – Published October 1887.

Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe.

Setting out from Glasgow on the 3rd July, 1886, to catch the steamer to Hamburg, Hugh Callan details his 1,500 mile, high-wheeler, 33 day journey “on wheel down Europe from the German ocean to the Aegean Sea”, entering Austria at Gmünd on the Czech border, before visiting Vienna and cycling along the Dabube to Hainburg an der Donau, and onward to Budapest and Athens, Greece.

The second part of the book is dedicated to his earlier July 1885 trip “on wheel up the Rhine Valley, from Amsterdam to Geneva, and back by Antwerp,” 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.

May 1885 – 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 became the first cyclist to cross the United States in the process, sailing from New York to Liverpool, and continuing his journey in May 1885 through Europe, arriving in Austria at Altheim, from Simbach am Inn in Bavaria.

Cycling through Lambach, “up among the hills” to Strengberg, and along the Danube to Melk, and Neulengbach, before climbing “over rough, lumpy roads, toward Vienna”, he continued on from the Austrian capital “through the waving barley-fields of the Danube bottom to Schwechat”, Petronell, and Hainburg an der Donau, pushing forward to Presburg (today, Bratislava in Slovakia), on his journey towards Iran,

  • By Thomas Stevens.
  • Published by Sampson, Lowe, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 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 Scottish clergyman Hugh Callan – the same author of “Wanderings on Wheel and on Foot Through Europe” – on his ride from Glasgow to Jerusalem, which had previously appeared seven years earlier as a more in depth series of articles in the Glasgow Herald – the Austrian section published on 28th September and 6th October, 1888.

Charting the author’s progress on a “Singer” safety bicycle, he enters Austria from Switzerland, at “the head of Lake Constance” and, “below Feldkirch, in the Vorarlberg,” where he “began the forty miles’ ascent up to the famous Arlberg Pass” – “truly it is Wonderland,” – to “a place called Stams (between Landeck and Innsbruck).”

At Innsbruck, he heads south over the Brenner Pass – “well worth the climb” into Bruneck, South Tyrol (now Italy). on his way through “the Crownlands of Austria” and its “ever-changing degrees of races,” to “Krainburg, Carniola” (Kranj in modern day Slovenia).

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

August 1891 – published in November 1893.

To Gipsyland.

The Pennells returned with an account of their summer ride in 1891, this time swapping their trusty tricycle for two safety bicycles (Elizabeth on a Marriott and Cooper’s Ladies’ Safety), in search of the Romani “gypsies” whose culture they had originally fallen in love with in their native Philadelphia.

The book, originally serialised a year earlier in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine (Nov 1892 – Jan 1893), meets the couple in Pirna, “the little Saxon town on the Elbe”, before skipping straight to Bad Ischl in Austria.

A more in depth account of their ride however, entitled From Berlin to Budapest”, appeared as a twelve part series in The London Illustrated News with the Austrian sections (published 13th, 20th and 27th August 1892).

Their route took them from Salzburg, through St. Gilgen, Strobl, and, as very briefly mentioned in the book, Bad Ischl, – arriving in Bad Aussee on Assumption Day, 15th August 1891.

They pushed on through Admont, Hieflau, Weyer, Waidhofen an der Ybbs, Amstetten, Melk, and Neulengbach, to Vienna, from where they caught the boat “and went down the river as far as Pressburg” (Bratislava), then part of Austria but today the capital of Slovakia.

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


“The wheel is considerably in vogue in Austria proper…

Heroes as they were, they made fun of my folly in wearing such heavy clothes and dragging half-a-dozen kilogrammes of baggage behind me.

On being quietly informed that the heavy knapsack had the effect of converting my ordinary bicycle into a ‘safety,’ and that most of the places on my route, especially in Turkey (the word Turkey was an eye-opener to them), had no railway station, they began to think that after all ‘there was method in my madness’.”

Wanderings on Wheel and on Foot, Hugh Callan (1887).

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