A Victorian Cyclist
Rambling through Kent in 1886
by Stephen & Shirley Channing
Bicycles are so much a part of everyday life nowadays, it can be surprising to realize that for the late Victorians these "velocipedes" were a novelty disparaged as being unhealthy and unsafe – and that indeed tricycles were for a time seen as the format more likely to succeed. Some people however adopted the newfangled devices with alacrity, embarking on adventurous tours throughout the countryside. One of them documented his 'rambles' around East Kent in such detail that it is still possible to follow his routes on modern cycles, and compare the fauna and flora (and pubs!) with those he vividly described.
In addition to providing today's cyclists with new historical routes to explore, and both naturalists and social historians with plenty of material for research, this fascinating book contains a special chapter on Lady Cyclists in the era before female emancipation, and an unintentionally humorous section instructing young gentlemen how to make their cycle and then ride it.
A Victorian Cyclist features over 200 illustrations, and is complemented by a fully updated website, victoriancyclist.com.
Everything Bicycles: "Lovely… wonderfully written… terrific"
BikeBiz (Jan 2012, p. 59): "Interesting... informative... detailed historical insights"
Forty Plus Cycling Club: (Signpost): "Superb... illuminating... well detailed... The easy flowing prose, which has a cadence like cycling itself, carries the reader along as if freewheeling with a hind wind" [local copy, 290K PDF]
An interview with the authors can be found on Thanet Community Radio.
Available from all good booksellers (including locally at Turner Contemporary and Waterstones) or directly from:
Tel: +44 1843 847701