Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 2nd, 2008 at 10:38 am
In a city with its share of adventurous, daring, eccentric, bike-riding women, the story of Annie Londonderry feels right at home.
In 1894, Ms. Londonderry (her real name was Annie Cohen Kopchovsky) embarked on an audacious journey — a solo bicycle ride around the world.
Her expedition was lost to history until her great grand-nephew, journalist Peter Zheutlin, started digging through old family artifacts, letters, and foreign and domestic newspapers to uncover her story.
And what a story it was.
Thankfully, Zheutlin has published a book about the journey, Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride, and he will be in Portland on July 8th for a bike ride and presentation.
Press materials from the book’s publisher (Citadel Books) put Londonderry’s ride into historical context:
“The journey, set against the backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement, the bicycle craze and an intense period of globalization brought on by advances in communications and transportation technology, illuminates many vital aspects of late 19th century life. Indeed, women of the 1890s saw the bicycle as an implement of personal and political power.”
And the book also illuminates her colorful personality:
“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 [she took the name Londonderry because she was sponsored Londonderry Water Company!], carrying advertising banners and ribbons through the streets of cities around the world… She was outlandish, outrageous, radical and charismatic and she set out to do what no woman had done before.”
It sounds like an inspiring and entertaining story. You can hear more about Ms. Londonderry at the author’s presentation next week. The event will begin with a leisurely bike ride from NW Portland to Waterfront Park and is sponsored by Annie Blooms Books, Lakeside Bicycles and several Jewish cultural organizations.
Here are the details:
Author Peter Zheutlin presents his book, Around the World on Two Wheels
6:00 – Bike Ride, 7:30 – Presentation
Congregation Beth Israel
1972 NW Flanders
Portland, OR 97209
RSVP: Hadassah 503-244-6389 or firstname.lastname@example.org