On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

To the airport

By Stuart Lowe on

It was my last day in America. I headed to downtown.

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The Charles River

At Golden Spike in Utah a lady who worked at the Museum of Fine Arts had told me to visit when I got to Boston. I cycled over there and asked for her at reception. It turned out she wasn't answering her phone and was thought to be in a meeting. I left a message but headed off.

panorama
Museum of Fine Art

I needed a Massachusetts sticker for my bike and had lots of postcards to write to all the people I'd promised across the country. On Commonwealth Avenue I found Back Bay Bicycles who were, strangely, down some stairs in a basement. Not the easiest place to take a laden bike. Also, they had a sign saying "no bicycles" on the railings on the street outside. Despite the less than friendly outward appearance, inside they were friendly and provided me with a sticker to represent my final State.

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Back Bay bicycles

At Boston Common I went into the little tourist shop. I picked out about 30 postcards and, jokingly, asked if they did a bulk discount. They said they would! I don't think I've ever been so forward before. Back home they would probably have laughed along with the joke but this was America. They thought I was being serious. I spent a couple of hours writing them all in a nearby coffee shop before an expedition to find stamps.

With my cards sent, I set off to the airport following Jessica's route from the day before. On the way I got angrily beeped at by a motorist who thought I was blocking him. Actually the traffic lights were red so if I hadn't have been there he wouldn't have been going anywhere anyway. He was the fifth unfriendly person of my trip from San Francisco. Not bad going really.

Jessica's route took me to the Alford Street bridge but my GPS kept trying to take me other ways. I briefly stopped to talk to a brother and sister - Braynor and Hamilton - to check I was going the right way. They were going the same direction so rode with me for a bit.

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Braynor and Hamilton on the way to the airport

Through industrial land I rode and eventually found a bike lane going into Boston Logan airport. This trip has been a real eye-opener on how it is possible to cycle to airports. I'd cycled to London Heathrow, from San Francisco and now to Boston Logan.

At Departures I took apart my bike and put it in the rather dishevelled CTC bike bag that had doubled as my tent groundsheet across America. My two panniers went inside the big blue IKEA bag so that they counted as one item of hold luggage. At the check in desk the lady looked worried. She thought I had two hold items and I was clearly only paid for one. I was just about to get out my copy of Virgin Atlantic's excellent bike policy, that I'd been carrying around since April, when her colleague leaned over and told her the bike was free. I don't suppose many people take up their bike policy.

Stevens reached Boston on August 4th but I'd had a different deadline to make. In my case I had my niece's wedding to attend on August 2nd so my flight was on July 31st. I had been cutting it fine but had made it.

Goodbye America! It has been awesome. You've been super friendly and generous.

Is that the end? I'd only set out to do Thomas Stevens's US route but since coming down the Rockies I've contemplated continuing his European leg from Liverpool to Istanbul. Watch this space.