On June 27, 1894, 24-year-old woman named Annie Londonderry began a journey traversing the world on a sturdy 42-pound Columbia woman’s bike sporting a long skirt, corset and fashionable dress throughout this era. Two Bostonian chauvinists who claimed no woman was capable to bicycle around the world challenged Annie to the feat.
Annie was somewhat of a social media guru in her time stirring up attention and much needed funding to accomplish this trip. She used a range of stories mostly fables stating she was medical student from Harvard, niece of a US Senator, a lawyer, a student or whatever she felt would bring her the needed attention and income to finish her trip.
After a few lost pounds likely due to the exhaustion of riding a heavy bike while encumbered by her attire, she realized to complete this adventure she needed to be properly equipped. Annie then ditched the beefy 42 pound bike for a 21 pound men’s Sterling, dumped the knickers and switched to wearing a man’s riding suit to complete the journey.
On September 24, 1895, Annie arrived home to Boston to complete her journey and claim her prize. Arguments were made against the achievement accusing her of using alternative transportations too frequently like a train instead of a bike. Regardless this event was heralded as a major achievement any one person could have accomplished. Annie went on sharing her stories through her journalism career mesmerizing her readers through writing and public engagements.