Elizabeth Robins Pennell’s 1898 book Over the Alps on a Bicycle, illustrated by her husband Joseph Pennell, is now available on Kindle. This edition was “re-mastered” so to speak as an e-book by Cathy Ryan for Eltanin Publishing from the original print copy.
My introduction to the new edition, now available on Kindle, explains the significance of the book and provides a biographical sketch of the author, with details of her opinions about cycling and how her rides fit into the politics of the late nineteenth century world. There is a bonus article at the end of the book, Pennell’s 1894 essay “Cycling” from Lady Greville’s Ladies in the Field: Sketches of Sport.
Over the Alps on a Bicycle tells the story of Anglo-American couple Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell’s six week journey across ten of the highest passes in the Alps. Their trip was taken at a time when cycling was still a relatively new pastime for women and no other woman had attempted to ride this record setting Alpine route. As Pennell herself noted, “if the name of the first man to climb the Alps with his bicycle is disputed, I propose to immortalize the name and adventures of the first woman.”
You can read about the Pennell’s adventures by downloading Over the Alps on a Bicycle from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bicycle-illustrated-Elizabeth-Robins-Pennell-ebook/dp/B00OVNF4SA for UK readers. If you’re in the US, go to http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-illustrated-Elizabeth-Robins-Pennell-ebook/dp/B00OVNF4SA or .ca for fellow Canadians! There is a small price of about £1.50, profits from which go to Eltanin. It’s £1.50 well spent as it’s a very nice edition and a highly readable narrative.
Over the Alps on a Bicycle would make great holiday reading, especially for those of you embarking on cycle tours of your own!