A peasant in peaked hat and blue shirt, with trousers rolled up high above his bare knees, crossed the road and silently examined the tricycle. "You have a good horse," he then said; "it eats nothing." --from An Italian PilgrimageThe 1880s was an exhilarating time for cycling pioneers like Elizabeth and her husband Joseph. As boneshakers and high-wheelers evolved into tandem tricycles and the safety bike, cycling grew from child's play and extreme sport into a leisurely and, importantly, literary mode of transportation. The illustrated travel memoirs of "those Pennells" were--and still are--highly entertaining. They helped usher in the new age of leisure touring, while playfully hearkening back to famous literary journeys. In this new edition, Dave Buchanan provides rich cultural contexts surrounding the Pennells' first two adventures. These long out-of-print travel memoirs will delight avid cyclists as well as scholars of travel literature, cycling history, women's writing, Victorian literature, and illustration.
Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936) and Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), a married couple from Philadelphia, collaborated on numerous books as writer and illustrator. Dave Buchanan teaches in the English Department at MacEwan University in Edmonton. His current research explores the first generation of cycle-travel literature from the 1880s and 1890s. He blogs about the semi-serious cycling life at dustymusette.blogspot.ca.