We are part of a restless species that has a long history of wandering and exploring in search of adventure, knowledge, and material benefit.   A journey, short or long also helps alleviate the tedium of routine and it heightens an appreciation of home.

Nineteenth Century Americans took advantage of bicycle technology to explore their vast nation.  The journey was often explained or justified with plans to visit distant friends or relatives, to see man made and natural sights, or to profit from a wager or writing assignment.  Whatever the motive, being alone on the open road and dependent upon your own physical energy and judgement required what the age termed "grit."

Most of the travelers described in the following accounts were young men at the time of their notable journey.  There were hardships and dangers, but generally no serious injuries. Most travelers returned home after the journey was complete and led useful, but normal lives.

Modern wheelmen have continued the tradition of travel and about twenty men have ridden high wheel machines across America since 1972.  This is just a trickle compared to the vast flow of cyclists on modern machines who have made trips across states, along historic paths, and from sea to sea.  The journeys described below are focused upon rides prior to 1914 and after 1980.  





From Sea To Shining Sea:
Journeys Of 10 High Wheel
 Riders From 1884-1891

To The Golden Gate:
George Nellis' 1887 Wheel
 Across The Continent

Cross Country Trip:
William Henry Sheneman







Across America
San Francisco To Boston
 Jim Ogland, April 22 - June 6, 1989



Criss-Crossing America
Riding High On The "Great River Road"
 Jim Ogland, April 5 - 26, 1994








Around The World On A Penny Farthing
 Re-enactment Part 1 - Steve Stevens
 May 26 - June 28, 2000


Ride Across America
Gary Sanderson & Peter Matthews
 June 12 - August 21, 2004


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