around Germany on a bicycle.
“The sight of an ‘Englander‘ on one of his rambling expeditions of adventure furnishes much amusement to the average German, who, while he cannot help admiring the spirit of enterprise that impels him, fails to comprehend where the enjoyment can possibly come in.
The average German would much rather loll around, sipping wine or beer, and smoking cigarettes, than impel a bicycle across a continent.”
~ Around The World on a Bicycle – Thomas Stevens (1887).
My Life and Times
by Jerome K. Jerome
1872 – published in 1877
Bonn to Metz per Bicycle – in Six Days – 1872.
A “most interesting book” of how two English men, 20 year old London-born Charles Frederick Casella and his friend, Fritz, travelled in April 1872, the 800 km from Bonn in Germany to Bingen am Rhein and onwards to Metz – which, following the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, had only just become part of the German Empire a few months earlier (although now lies in France once more), – “on bone-shakers made by Snoxell”; one of which “rejoiced in rubber tyres, as at that time this great luxury was just coming into vogue.”
- by Charles F. Casella.
- printed by Spottiswoode & Co., London
- (illustration of a Snoxell velocipede, left, not from book).
Bicycling; Its Rise and Development.
“A text book for riders” aimed to cater for the rapidly developing bicycle movement by filling the void, after early books about the wooden wheeled machine had become valueless. With numerous illustrations to assist the beginner, the book is packed with informative chapters on routes in England, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, The Battlefields of 1870, Upper Rhine, Belgium, Germany, Holland, and France – each highlighting the points of interest, hotels, museums, mileage, gradients and road conditions along the way,
The routes listed for Germany are barely worth a mention as they only cover the “Battlefields of 1870” from Mezieres to Strasbourg via Saarbrücken; Liege to Cologne; and alongside the Rhine from Cologne to Coblenz “but there is nothing to repay him for his trouble, and if he wants to see the Rhine, he had better go by the boat to Bingen in the ordinary way,”
- Published by Tinsley Bros., London.
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.
1878? – published in Jan 1879.
Eydtkuhnen to Langenweddingen by Bicycle.
A 24 page account of “an attempt to ride from the Russian frontier to Calais” in winter, from Eydtkuhnen – the village on the East Prussian (German) side of the border (today the settlement of Eitkūnai in Chernyshevskoe, Kaliningrad, on the border with Kybartai, Lithuania) – to Calais, France.
After passing through modern day Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave) and Poland, the author abandoned his journey, due to thick snow, at Langenweddingen in Prussia – today part of Sülzetal, Magdeburg, “near Brunswick” (Braunschweig), – over 600 miles (877 km) into his journey.
The book contained “a miniature map and views photographed by the Woodbury Company, from pen and ink sketches by the traveller,” which he made over his 26 day journey, twelve of which were spent at various towns, with walking excursions.
The 34 year old author made a book reading at the Drill Hall, Bromley, Kent, England, on January 25th 1879.
- by W.S. Yorke Shuttleworth.
- Published by John Snow & Co., London.
- (illustration from an old postcard, left, not from book).
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 through Europe, arriving on 19th May, 1885, at – what was at the time – the French/German border in Blâmont.
Cycling through the Alsace (“French territory only fourteen years ago”), he crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg into modern day Germany, and contined through Oberkirch, “into the fir-clad heights of the Black Forest”, to Freudenstadt, and Rottenberg, “down the beautiful valley of one of the Danube’s tributaries” “toward the important and quite beautiful city of Ulm,” into Bavaria and Augsburg, “the antiquated town of Dachau,” and Munich – “amid the smoke of good cigars and the quaffing of the delicious amber beer that the brewers of Munich alone know how to brew,” – on to Muhldorf – “a curious and interesting old town” – crossing into Austria at Simbach am Inn, from where he continued on towards Iran,
- By Thomas Stevens.
- Published by Sampson, Lowe, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London.
July 1885 – Published October 1887.
Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe.
Setting out from Glasgow on the 3rd July, 1886, and catching 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”, taking in Berlin and Dresden before heading to Prague and onward to 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,” taking in Emmerich am Rhein, Duisberg, Diisseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz, Mainz, Mannheim, Heidelberg – “a more delightful spot to live and study in is perhaps not on earth,” – Bruchsal, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg and Alsace (at the time, part of Germany), into Switzerland, 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.
Summer 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 bicycle rides in 1888 and 1897 through Britain, Europe and Canada.
Briefly mentioning his ride “up the Rhine” in 1888, before returning during the war in 1914: “in southern Germany from the car window little was to be seen to indicate the nation was in a life and death struggle but going from Switzerland to Amsterdam, after leaving Stuttgart the second day, on the way to Frankfort and Cologne, things were different.”
- By George B. Thayer.
- Published by Case, Lockwood & Brainard, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
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 series of articles in the Glasgow Herald – the German section published on 12th September, 1888.
Charting the author’s progress on a “Singer” safety bicycle, he cycles from Basel to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on the Baden (German) side of the Rhine, passing through Waldshut and crossing “four frontier lines” along the way.
- By Hugh Callan.
- Published by Blackie & Son, London.
May 1889 – 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 56-inch high-wheel bicycle journey around the world, setting off from Melbourne, on 1st November 1888, arriving back in Australia on the 14th December 1889.
The German section of their journey was chronicled in The Australasian, on 25th January, 8th, 15th February and 22nd March 1890,
Crossing into Germany from Swizerland at Leopoldshöhe (Weil am Rhein), they passed through Schliengen and Freiburg, before crossing the Rhine to Strasbourg (today France, but at the time part of Germany, following the 1870 Siege of Strasbourg, during the Franco-Prussian War).
Continuing along the Rhine, they reached Baden-Baden, commenting that breakfast was “an exhorbitant price” but “Germany is, of course, a great place for beer. It can be got every mile or so for one penny a pint; and it is really splendid, and not intoxicating.”
From there, they cycled through Rastatt, Karlsruhe, and Heidelberg – “a most delightful spot,” – before “80 miles of the worst roads we had experienced on the Continent,” through Alzey, Mannheim, and Bingen, “along the winding River Rhine” to Boppard and Koblenz, passed the many castles and vineyards; “but, although the ‘good Rhine wine’ is famed far and wide, the penny-a-pint German ale is much more palatable to the thirsty wheelman.”
Continuing along the river to Bonn and Cologne, they “met hundreds of wheelemen” on their way to “a great bicycle carnival” in the city, before pushing on through Neuss, Rheinberg, Xanten and Kleve, crossing into Holland in the direction of Oss (presumably at Kranenburg).
Leaving their bicycles in London, they would return to Germany in July 1889, catching a train from Brussels to explore Berlin, – “a totally different town from Paris; in fact, no two towns could be more unlike.”
- “by G.W. Burston and H.R. Stokes.
- Published by George Robertson and Company, Melbourne, Australia “for private circulation only”
July 1890 – Published in 1891.
A Summer’s Cycling Reminiscence.
“The story of a three months’ bicycling tour through Europe and an account of some of the impressions received” compiled a series of articles which first appeared in the Canadian “Cycling” journal in February 1891, following six members of The Torontos Bicycle Club, on their 1890 trip of Europe.
A chapter follows C. Langley’s “A 400-mile Tour on a Grand Old Ordinary” (Rudge penny-farthing) from Paris to Mannheim, crossing into what was then Germany, from Nancy, near Bourdonnay, and continuing through Héming, Sarrebourg, and Strasbourg, before entering modern day Germany at Kehl.and following the Rhine through Rastatt, Graben-Neudorf, and Schwetzingen on his way to Mannheim. before sailing down the river to Koln and catching a train to Ostend for London.
R.H. McBride’s “A Pleasant Memory” saw him cycle through Germany on a Rudge Ordinary after catching the train from Basel, Switzerland, to Strasbourg, France (then Germany), cycling along the Rhine to Rastatt. Heidelberg, Schriesheim, Darmstadt, and Mainz, where he took a steamer along the river to Koln. before catching a train to Liege and onwards to Ostend for London.
- by F.F. Peard, C. Langley & R.H. McBride.
- published by Press of “Cycling“, Toronto, Canada.
July 1890 – Published 1891.
Wheel Tracks in Foreign Lands.
“Recollections of a cycling tour through Europe during the summer of 1890” followed twenty riders of the “Elwell American Bicycle Party” on their safety bicycles as they peddled 1,500 miles around France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and England.
Entering Germany and The Black Forest from Neuhausen and The Rhine Falls in Switzerland, they cycled through Bonndorf, Titsee, the Hollenthal, Freiburg im Breisgau, Triberg, Hornberg. and Offenburg to Strasbourg (now in France) and onward to Baden-Baden, “the most famous watering place in Europe, if not in all the world.”
Taking a brief break in cycling for a long train ride to Oberammergau “to see the Passion Play,” they visited Munich and the Hofbräu – for “the best beer in Europe,” – Oberau, and Schloss Linderhof – “the palace of the late mad King Louis of Bavaria” (who had died four years earlier),
Returning to Baden-Baden, they continued to Heidelberg, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Rüdesheim am Rhein, Bingen, and Assmanshausen where they took the rack railway (today a chairlift) to the Niederwald Monument, returning to Bingen via Rüdesheim on the Niederwaldbahn cog railway (now a cable car).
Cycling “along the castled river, for ages celebrated in legend and song” they visited “the old castle Rheinstein,” Bacharach, St. Goar, Boppard, and Koblenz, from where they took a boat to Koln, and continued their cycle through Düsseldorf, before leaving Germany for the Netherlands, on a train to Rotterdam.
- by James E. Wilkinson.
- Published by Hanzsche & Co., Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
June 1891 – Published in 1892.
The Brownies in “Yurep”.
“Or, cycling beyond the sea” is an incredibly rare book, with only 32 copies ever printed. It follows the “Members of the Elwell Bicycle Tour of 1891” on their ride in Europe with “Papa” Elwell, complete with photographs, from England, “touring through sunny France, mid Switzerland’s snow-clad peaks and lakes of blue, and down the fabled Rhine” through Germany and Holland – the same guided tour taken by James E. Wilkinson in “Wheel Tracks in Foreign Lands” a year earlier.
- by Charles R. Cutter and F. R. Goodrich.
- published by Telegram Book Print, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.A..
- (advert for Elwell’s Tour of 1891 in Life, 2nd April 1891).
July 1891 – published in November 1893.
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 German sections (published 23rd April, 21st, 28th May, 11th, 18th June. 9th, 30th July, 6th and 13th August 1892). actually taking them from Cologne – “for the sake of alliteration, we did not change our title with our minds,” – to Hilchenbach, Battenberg, Frankenberg, Bad Wildungen, Kassel, Münden, Göttingen, Gieboldehausen, Herzberg am Harz, Sankt Andreasberg – “a tourists’ headquarters, though essentially a German one,” – Bad Harzburg, Ilsenburg, Wernigerode, Halberstadt, and Magdeburg, from where Elizabeth caught the train, and Joseph continued to ride towards Berlin.
They returned by train to Potsdam, then cycled on to Grossenhain, Dresden and, as mentioned in the book, Pirna, before crossing into Bohemia (Czechia) over an unmarked border somewhere between Königstein and Tisá.
Crossing back into Germany at Schirnding, Bavaria, they continued on through Thiersheim, Weißenstadt and, in Bayreuth, on 1st August 1891, they dined with Mark Twain at the Wagner Festival -“Of course he laughed — he was laughing all the time. He would not have been Mark Twain, our great American humorist, if he had not.”
They passed through Behringersmühle, Muggendorf, Forchheim, Erlangen, Nuremberg – “one of the most over-rated places in the tourists’ itinerary,” – Schwabach, Ellingen, Weissenburg, Eichstätt, Ingolstadt, Pfaffenhofen, Munich, Bad Aibling, Rosenheim, Bad Endorf, and Traunstein before crossing into Austria at Salzburg.
- by Joseph and Elizabeth Rose Pennell.
- Published by T. Fisher Unwin, London.
REFLECTIONS ON PRUSSIAN CHARACTER AND CUSTOMS
“Much more interest than I expected was excited by the appearance of me and my wheel. It was quite evident, from the number and nature of the questions put to me by the people who crowded around, and from the frequent shying of the horses, that cyclists did not wear the roads much there.
Now I had been told (by Germans) that cyclists swarmed about Berlin and the roads leading to it ; but in all Prussia I did not pass a single wheelman on the road.
Of course there are cyclists and cycling clubs, but they are evidently afraid to wear out their machines or themselves, and so are not Radfahrer (wheel-farers) except in name.”
~ Wanderings: On Wheel and On Foot in Europe – Hugh Callan (1887).