Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 Kopchovsky changed all of that.

Annie was a Jewish immigrant and working mother of three living in a Boston tenement with her husband, a peddler. This was as close to the American dream as she was likely to get—until she became part of what one newspaper called "one of the most novel wagers ever made": a high-stakes bet between...

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

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Overview

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 Kopchovsky changed all of that.

Annie was a Jewish immigrant and working mother of three living in a Boston tenement with her husband, a peddler. This was as close to the American dream as she was likely to get—until she became part 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, as Thomas Stevens had a few years before. Annie rose to the challenge, pledging to finish her fifteen-month trip with a staggering $5,000 earned by selling advertising space on her bike and her clothing, making personal appearances in stores and at bicycle races, and lecturing about her adventures along the way. When the Londonderry Lithia Springs Water Company of New Hampshire offered to become the first of her many sponsors, Annie Kopchovsky became Annie Londonderry, and a legend was born. So began one of the greatest escapades—and publicity stunts—of the Victorian Age.

In this marvelously written book, author Peter Zheutlin vividly recounts the story of the audacious woman who turned every Victorian notion of female propriety on its ear. When Annie left Boston in June 1894, she was a brash young lady with a 42-pound bicycle, a revolver, a change of underwear, and a dream of freedom. The epic journey that followed—from a frigid ride through France to an encounter with outlaw John Wesley Hardin in El Paso—took the connection between athletics and commercialism to dizzying new heights and turned Annie into a symbol of sexual equality.

A beguiling true story of a bold spirit who reinvented herself against all odds, Around the World on Two Wheels blends social history and high adventure into an unforgettable portrait of courage, imagination, and tenacity.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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: 9780806531717
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 669,068
  • File size: 993 KB

Meet the Author


Peter Zheutlin is an avid cyclist and a freelance journalist whose work appears regularly in the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor.

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

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