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"The stutter of the world beneath you": the literature of cycle travel

Faculty Advisor




cycle travel, travel writers, cycle-travel writing, cycling history

Abstract (summary)

The earliest accounts of cycle travel, from the 1870s, mostly in magazines in England and America, tended to be not so much literary as itinerary: plain-prose descriptive narratives of distances rode, places visited, and technical and logistical details about things like road conditions, supply points, and accommodation. The three main types of cycle-travel writers that emerged in the late nineteenth century – pilgrims, ramblers, and adventurers – remain responsible for the vast majority of cycle-travel literature produced today. Not all cycle-travel writers emphasize destinations or specific routes the way pilgrims do. In fact, a vibrant tradition of cycle-travel writing from the 1890s to the 1940s is more concerned with celebrating the experience of the ride as an end in itself. Both pilgrims and ramblers tend to take a leisurely, recreational, small-scale approach to travel, one that emphasizes interactions between traveller, place, history, texts, and nature rather than distances covered and difficult terrain traversed.

Publication Information

Buchanan, D. (2022) "The stutter of the world beneath you": The literature of cycle travel. In G. Norcliffe, U. Brogan, P. Cox, B. Gao, T. Hadland, S. Hanlon, T. Jones, N. Oddy, & L. Vivanco (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Cycling. Routledge.



Item Type

Book Chapter



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)