New Book Tells the Astonishing Story of the Young Mother from Boston who Circled the World by Bicycle in 1894-5
It was, declared the New York World on October 20, 1895, “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman” — an audacious, solo, ‘round the world race against time on a bicycle — and the woman who made it was a working class Jewish mother from Boston, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky. Though she became a global sensation in the mid-1890s, and was a singularly colorful and eccentric woman, her story had been lost to history for more than a century.
Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride (Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing, November, 2007), is the remarkable story of the woman who transformed herself into an international celebrity as the globe trotting cyclist, Mlle. Annie Londonderry, a pseudonym she took from her first corporate sponsor, the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company of New Hampshire.
She was reportedly set in motion by a novel, high-stakes wager that required Annie not only to circle the earth by bicycle in 15 months, but to earn $5,000 en route, as well. This was no mere test of a woman’s physical endurance and mental fortitude; it was a test of a woman’s ability to fend for herself in the world.
Traveling with only a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver, Annie earned her way, in part, by turning her bicycle and her body into a mobile billboard, carrying advertising banners and ribbons through the streets of cities around the world. Thus adorned, and riding a men’s bicycle and a man’s riding suit, Annie turned every Victorian expectation of female propriety on its ear. She was outlandish, outrageous, radical and charismatic and she set out to do what no woman had done before.
Around the World on Two Wheels is scheduled for release on October 30, 2007.
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