Before the last quarter of the nineteenth century, people who wanted to travel independently either walked or rode horses. Then a newly invented machine changed forever the nature of personal transportation. The cycle—self-propelled bicycles, tricycles, and tandems—allowed almost anyone to travel around town, around their region, and around the world. While dramatic developments in equipment, clothing, road surfaces, and amenities make the physicality of cycling much different from the earlier era, the experience of cycling has seen little change.
The Self-Propelled Voyager: How the Cycle Revolutionized Travel recounts how a transportation innovation opened the world for not only those who made the journey but also for the armchair travelers who read with interest the cyclists’ accounts of faraway places. Following a brief history of the development of the cycle, this book describes the exploits of long-distance riders who wrote of their experiences, their triumphs, and their tragedies. Duncan R. Jamieson chronicles their journeys, their personal stories, and the times in which they lived, revealing that, despite the continuing rise and fall of cycling interest, people continue to enjoy traveling in the slow lane.
Drawing on books and articles by the women and men who rode and wrote of their travels, The Self-Propelled Voyager also features photographs from the 1880s up to the modern day, illustrating the development of the cycle through history. Accessibly written yet comprehensive in its coverage, this book will interest not only the cycling enthusiast but historians focusing on sport and sport tourism as well.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; September 2015
- ISBN 9781442253711
- Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
- Title: The Self-Propelled Voyager
- Author: Duncan R. Jamieson
Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
In The Press
Professor Jamieson himself is obviously an avid long distance cyclist and he has covered vast stretches, such as across the United States. He is thus well suited to analyze and understand all these stories about bicycle trips written by other intellectuals over the years. He emphasizes the importance of cycling for children and young people, but adds that there has been some criticism of cycling in the United States, where the car is often a priority. He believes that motoring gives freedom, but also a certain social isolation when traveling far – as opposed to cycling, which is a much more social activity given the open air and slow speed mode of traveling, so that cyclists meet other riders and all sorts of people on their journeys.
About The Author
Duncan R. Jamieson is professor of history at Ashland University, Ohio. He specializes in American social/intellectual history and the history of sport, especially long distance cycling. His previous publications include the book The Eagles of Ashland and journal articles on cycle travel.