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 (particularly using the Kindle edition), 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.

You may also be interested in Steve's follow-up book, Bicycle Beginnings.


Everything Bicycles: "Lovely… wonderfully written… terrific"

Kent on Sunday (25/2/2012, p.29): "Rare and insightful" [local copy, 1.2MB PDF]

BikeBiz (Jan 2012, p. 59): "Interesting… informative… detailed historical insights"

Veteran-Cycle Club: (News & Views #347, p.6) "Unique and fascinating book… quality is very good… of considerable interest" [local copy, low-res JPG]

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]

Also reviewed in Essex CTC's 'Spotlight' and The Fell Club magazine.


Listen below to an interview with the authors (on Thanet Community Radio/Kaspaar):

Format Royal Octavo hardback
Published 1 December 2011
ISBN 978-0-9559219-7-1
Length 300 pages
Available All good booksellers, including Amazon. For other options see our contact page.
Format Kindle eBook
Published 8 May 2017
Length 72,000 words
Available Amazon