Thomas Stevens, a Berkhamsted pioneer, crosses America by bicycle

On 22nd April 1884 a short stocky figure walked down the gangplank from the ferry Alameda onto the Oakland pier situated on the Pacific Ocean side of the United States of America. He was dressed in a loose fitting blue flannel shirt with matching trousers, the legs of which were gathered at the knees into a pair of duck hunting leggings. On his head he sported a broad brimmed slouch hat and he was pushing a 50 inches “Standard Columbia” penny farthing bicycle.


Thomas Stevens

Stevens’ journey was serialised in the magazine Outing and reads like a Boy’s Own adventure story. After 104 days, Stevens reached the city of Boston on 4th August 1884, having travelled about 3,700 miles, benefiting enormously from the generosity and hospitality of the people whom he met along the way. In 2008, the Society greeted members of the International Veteran Cycle Association riding through the town in honour of Thomas Stevens.

Ken Wallis, Chronicle, Vol III, pp.19-22