Beginning in June, 1890, two young American students made a bicycle journey around the world--so far as they could on land--and were back in New York, whence they had sailed for Liverpool to begin their wheeling in just under three years. They regard their journey through Western China and the Desert of Gobi as the most interesting and most dangerous parts of their travels.
st"). When a bad piece of road or a steep ascent forced us to dismount he would bring his horse to a walk, roll a cigarette, and draw invidious comparisons between our steeds. His tone, however, changed when we reached a decline or long stretch of reasonably good road. Then he would cut across country to head us off, or shout after us at the top of his voice, "Yavash-yavash" ("Slowly, slowly"). On the whole we found them good-natured and companionable fellows, notwithstanding their interest in baksheesh which we were compelled at last, in self-defense, to fix at one piaster an hour. We frequently shared with them our frugal, and even scanty meals; and in turn they assisted us in our purchases and arrangements for lodgings, for their word, we found, was with the common people an almost unwritten law. Then, too, they were of great assistance in crossing streams where the depth would have necessitated the stripping of garments; although their fiery little steeds sometimes objected to having an extra rid
Across Asia on a Bicycle is a travelogue of an epic journey at a time (1890) when bicycles were largely unknown in an Asia nearly unchanged by contact with the outside world. The book is as interesting for its description of the peoples encountered as it is for the places visited. It is easy reading and entertaining, although not without a few disappointments. The tale of the travels through Turkey and Iran is rich and detailed, but the trip through the Gobi Desert in China is simply a point-to-point chronicle of towns and encounters, without much description of the spectacular scenery of the Gobi. One high point (no pun intended) in the book is the side trip devoted to climbing of Mount Ararat, a place only a few had seen and which locals refused to believe was even possible. Although the idiom of the book is that of the 1890\\\'s, it is still vital and fascinating in its portrayal of peoples the bicyclists met and lodged with. On the whole, this is a worthwhile and fun read.