Thursday, August 10, 2006

Auntie Annie's Bicycle Trip

Peter Zheutlin is obsessed with his great-grandaunt Annie Kopchovsky, alias Annie Londonderry. In fact, he's written a book about the Boston woman's attempt to circle the globe on two wheels.

Kopchovsky, young working mother of three young children, set off in 1894 to settle an alleged wager - she reportedly bet $20,000 to $10,000 that a woman couldn’t travel around the world by bike. The terms further stipulated that she had to start with no money, complete the journey in 15 months or less, and earn $5,000 along the way.

"Her stories were completely incredible," Zheutlin said. "And I say ’incredible’ because often, they weren’t true."

Along the way, Kopchovsky, whose exact birthplace and date cannot be ascertained, gave interviews to different newspapers. Many of them were irreconcilable with the others. She may even have invented the bet itself, Zheutlin said, to draw attention to her endeavor. [Link]

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