The general plan of this book is not original. It tells of some experiences not altogether new, and contains observations and facts that have been noted by other writers; but the author hopes that, from the viewpoint of an automobilist at least, its novelty will serve as a recommendation. As a pastime automobile touring is still new and is not yet accomplished without some considerable annoyance and friction. The conventional guides are of little assistance; and the more descriptive works on travel fail too often to note the continually changing conditions which affect the tourist alike by road and rail.
imit, even though the great bulk of their area is open country; but twenty miles an hour for an automobile is far safer for the public than is most other traffic, regardless of the rate at which it moves.
[Illustration: "Speed" painting, Louis de Schryver]
Speed, so far as the bystander is concerned, is a very difficult thing to judge, and the automobilist seldom, if ever, gets fair treatment if he meets with the slightest accident.
Most people judge the speed of an automobile by the noise that it makes. This, up to within a few years, put most automobiles going at a slow speed at a great disadvantage, for the slower they went the noisier they were; but matters of design and control have changed this somewhat, and the public now protests because "a great death-dealing monster crept up silently behind--coming at a terrific rate." You cannot please every one, and you cannot educate a non-participating public all at once.
As for speed on the road, it is a variable thing, and a thing d
As an afficionado of automotive history, I was curious to see whether this book might provide insights into travel by automobile, in addition to facts (e.g., specific routes). Well, insights and opinion flow aplenty from this author, and little else. The book is a hotch-potch of casual observations and commentary, and not very well-organised. But sooner or later you get the idea that automotive travel is liberating, the hospitality and food in Britain is abominable, and the roads in Belgium are wretched. It is at least amusing to hear of the raw adventure gained whilst galloping along at the incendiary speed of 30 km/hr, which was the limit throughout France at the time of this book's writing (1907). There are a few amusing anecdotes, but overall not much substance, and one doubts that the recommendations for Bistros in provincial France are still reliable. Recommended for committed automotive historians.
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