Cycling in Israel and Palestine.

Pelotome –
around Israel and Palestine on a bicycle.

~ From the Clyde to The Jordan, High Callan (1895).

My Life and Times

by Jerome K. Jerome

From £4,75

October 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 Israel section published on 5th and 26th February, 1889.

Charting the author’s progress on a “Singer” safety bicycle, he enters modern day Israel at the port of Jaffa, on an Egyptian steamer from Mersin, Turkey, via Beirut (Lebanon), becoming “the first on the Holy Land” to ride a bicycle, cycling through Ramla, “with its sands and its tower,” Latrun (now a depopulated Palestinian village in the West Bank), and Bab al-Wad (Sha’ar HaGai), “the door of the valley”,

“Up and down incessantly the road leads, hill after valley and valley after hill all the way, with lights gleaming far and near from rocks and ruins, showing sites of world-wide interest,” to the “holiest of holy places, dear to all men’s hearts, JERUSALEM.”

Exploring the region, he visits Nabi Samwil (Palestine), Mount Olivet, and both Bethlehem and Hebron (West Bank, Palestine), before returning to Jaffa and catching a Russian ship to Port Said, Egypt, and onward by steamer to London, arriving on 1st December 1888, after covering 2,800 miles by bicycle over four months.

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


“When we landed at Jaffa the sea there had its usual heavy rolling swell, but the big lithe Arab boatmen lugged my wheel about with as much ease and as little ceremony as if it had been a box or a bale.

Learning that it was some sort of horse, the whole quay population left all and pursued me up the broken causewayed street, calling on me to mount, laying hold of me, and urging me with frantic glee.

And when at first I did mount – the first on the Holy Land – a real Arab hubbub arose and filled the town.”

~ From The Clyde to The Jordan, Hugh Callan (1895).

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