Bicycling in Athens in 1890

12 April 2018

From the UCLA photo archives an amazing article and photos of two young Americans William L. Sachtleben and Thomas G. Allenwho came to Greece on a round the world cycling trip in 1890.

Of course, while in Athens, their first destination was the Acropolis. The two cyclists, having a strong classical education, were deeply impressed by the spectacle of antiquities. "It is extremely difficult to record my thoughts in front of the Parthenon," Sachtleben wrote in his diary, adding: "I was looking around, full of respect for the monument from which democracy began to exist, inspiring freedom."

“The two cyclists enjoyed the city's social life. They were often invited to the luxurious home of the U.S. Ambassador to Athens. His son, a nascent cyclist, was astonished at one afternoon when he learned that the best time on a bike for a mile was at least 2.5 minutes shorter than the high wheel bicycle.” ” Cyclists were also friends with the American Consul, J. Irving Manatt, former professor of Greek Archeology at the University of Nebraska, who settled with his wife and five children in Athens to be closer to his favorite ancient monuments. Unlike Snowden, the Consul was not very talkative. "As soon as the conversation passes on another subject of his favorites, that is, Greece and antiquities, he stops his interest in talking.”

Read more here:ποδήλατο-αθήνα-1890/ 

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