Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride

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Overview

Peter Zheutlin's thoroughly researched account will make you wish you'd been around to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary woman as she went wheeling by. --Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio's Only A Game

Until 1894 there were no female sport stars, no product endorsement deals, and no young mothers with the chutzpah to circle the globe on a bicycle. Annie Londonderry changed all of that.

When Annie left Boston in June of that year, she ...

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Around The World On Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride

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Overview

Peter Zheutlin's thoroughly researched account will make you wish you'd been around to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary woman as she went wheeling by. --Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio's Only A Game

Until 1894 there were no female sport stars, no product endorsement deals, and no young mothers with the chutzpah to circle the globe on a bicycle. Annie Londonderry changed all of that.

When Annie left Boston in June of that year, she was a brash young lady with a 42-pound bicycle, a revolver, a change of underwear, and a dream of freedom. She was also a feisty mother of three who had become the center of what one newspaper called "one of the most novel wagers ever made": a high-stakes bet between two wealthy merchants that a woman could not ride around the world on a bicycle. The epic journey that followed took the connection between athletics and commercialism to dizzying new heights, and turned Annie Londonderry into a symbol of women's equality.

A vastly entertaining blend of social history, high adventure, and maverick marketing, Around the World on Two Wheels is an unforgettable portrait of courage, imagination, and tenacity.

"Annie was a remarkable woman and well worth getting to know." --Booklist

"A wonderful telling of one of the most intriguing, offbeat, and until now, lost chapters in the history of cycling." --David Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History

"A pleasant, affectionate portrait of a free spirit who pedaled her way out of Victorian constraints." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A] charming and informative book." --Cape Cod Times

"[An] incredible story. . .[a] fascinating book." --NextReads

"[A] stirring tale. . .not only a must read, but a must have." --Western Writers of America Roundup Magazine

"[A] remarkable saga." --The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal

"[R]ead[s]. . .like a novel." --The Columbia (SC) State

"[M]eticulously researched. . .illuminat[es] the feeling of a bygone era." --The Portsmouth (NH) Wire

Peter Zheutlin has been chasing the story of his great-grandaunt Annie Londonderry for more than four years. He is an avid cyclist and a freelance journalist whose work appears regularly in the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. He has also written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, AARP Magazine, Bicycling, the New England Quarterly, and other publications. He lives in Needham, Massachusetts.

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Editorial Reviews

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By the late 19th century, much of the world had been newly linked by the ever-expanding web of steamships, railroads, and telegraphs. The ordinary Western tourist could, with luck and determination, go places that only a few decades before had been the exclusive province of heroic explorers. With tales like Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days firing the public imagination, feats of travel became a source of popular entertainment. Author Peter Zheutlin follows the celebrated ride of his great-grandaunt Annie Kopchovsky, as the immigrant mother of three from Boston set out on a highly publicized journey around the world on a bicycle. Along the way she wore practical riding clothes -- shocking some and delighting others -- and spoke out against those who disapproved of women taking to the roads. But her main talent was in creating a spectacle that suited her own purposes: taking a sponsor's brand as a quondam surname ("Londonderry" spring water), Annie always kept her eye as much on the newspapers as on the road. In fact, Zheutlin finds that Annie was almost completely disingenuous about her journey, freely inventing stories for the press about her trips to war zones and attacks by ruffians. Moreover, she traveled far more by steam power than pedal power (her actual riding outside of the U.S. was mostly a single leg in France -- the rest of the haul was done by steamship). Her greatest feat was a typically American one: to have reinvented herself as necessary, the facts be what they may. --Bill Tipper
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806528519
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Barrett Whitener has won half a dozen coveted AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narration.
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