Bicycle Diaries: Why I love my city

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Why I love my city

...the Chicago Way

Alderman John E. Scully wrestles a bear in 1904 at the Madison Street Carnival, which he managed, in East Garfield Park. The previous year, Scully tried to persuade the Lincoln Park Zoo to parade an elephant down Madison Street, but zookeepers thought it was beneath the elephant’s dignity.
Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum's Chicago Daily News Collection

In 1884, British-born Thomas Stevens acquired a black-enameled Columbia 50-inch Standard model penny-farthing with nickel-plated wheels built by the Pope Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

Stevens struck out across the country, carrying in his handlebar bag: socks, a spare shirt, a slicker that doubled as tent and bedroll, and a 38 Smith & Wesson. Leaving San Francisco at 8 o'clock on 22 April 1884, he traveled eastward towards the United States. He was greeted by bicycle clubs, most prominently the local chapter of the League of America Wheelmen in Laramie, Wyoming. He reached Boston after 3700 miles on wagon trails, railroad ways, canal towpaths and public roads, to complete the first transcontinental bicycle ride on 4 August 1884.

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