When Massachusetts-based author Peter Zheutlin discovered that a long-lost aunt played an integral role in elevating the popularity of bicycling around the end of the 19th century, he decided to tell her story. In so doing, Zheutlin is educating the world about his great-great-aunt Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, a can Annie Londonderry, who embarked on a round-the-world bicycling trip with a well-publicized stop in Santa Barbara on May 15, 1895. He published a nonfiction account, Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride in 2007 and this year fictionalized the saga in Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story. 

Besides Londonderry’s stunning biography, Zheutlin’s books feature how critical bicycling became to freeing women from the conventional housebound presence, engaging testimonials, woman’s rights, and individual flexibility end route. He discloses to us more about the book underneath. 

Very few individuals think about this story, yet it is important for your family ancestry. Did you grow up hearing a ton about it, or did you need to uncover it yourself? 

Until 1993, this story was completely forgotten in history. That year, my mother, Baila, received a letter from a stranger who was researching Annie’s story based on a few old newspaper stories he had come across. His research led him to believe that my mother was a descendant of Annie’s.  

In light of the data in the letter, she was — Annie was the sister of my mom’s granddad. However, she had never known about Annie or anything about a relative taking this uncommon excursion. Along these lines, similar to my mom, this was the main I had at any point found out about it as well. 

Incapable to be of help, I put the letter and the duplicates of those old news accounts, which were encased, in a document organizer. Throughout the resulting years, I’d inquire as to whether they’d at any point known about Annie and came up void without fail. In 2003, a similar individual kept in touch with us again to check whether we had picked up anything throughout the long term, however, we hadn’t. Yet, this time, I chose to do some burrowing. 

The uncovered diagrams of the story were so shocking and unlikely. For what reason were Annie and her excursion a particularly secret? I don’t have a clue, however, I speculate Annie either cast herself out or was projected out by parts of the family who saw nothing reclaiming about her lady spouse and three kids, all younger than 6, to go traipsing throughout the planet on a bike. Other than Annie herself, when the outing was finished, there was nobody intrigued, I suspect, in making a legend of it. 

However, I got hooked on the story and gone through years looking for and discovering many news records of her movements from everywhere in the world since she was a skilled self-advertiser and an incredible duplicate. As I accomplished that work, I additionally connected with an expert in Jewish ancestry to assist me with deciding whether Annie had any immediate living relatives — I’m an insurance relative — who could reveal insight into this secret lady. Also, we did ultimately track down Annie’s just grandkid, my subsequent cousin once eliminated, Mary. 

I kept in touch with her, uncertain on the off chance that she’d even react, yet she was excited. She did not just know Annie, who kicked the bucket when Mary was 16, however, her cellar ended up being an archive of numerous ancient rarities of Annie’s bike trip. 

My first book about Annie, a true to life record of her excursion, was distributed in 2007, and it did a ton to make more individuals mindful of her story. That book was converted into a few dialects, and, in the years since Around the World on Two Wheels was distributed, a short narrative film has been made about her (The New Lady) and a melodic called Twist, enlivened by Annie, has visited all over Canada. Another melodic, Ride, was created in London in mid-2020, and a parody, The Wheel Lady, had its presentation at the Orlando Shakes Theater Celebration in October 2020. 

A trip in bend, Oregon, has been named for her. The actual book has been interpreted and distributed in German, Italian, Korean, and Czech. The incredible Real issue, an auxiliary of CNN, created a short energized include. Articles have shown up in many distributions throughout the planet, book parts have been composed, incalculable blog entries have shown up, and a youngsters’ book is coming in 2021. Annie was additionally the subject of an episode of the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum. 

In November 2019, as a feature of its “Overlooked No More” series of late tribute of ladies and ethnic minorities ignored in their time, the New York Times ran a full-length eulogy of Annie; it took up a large portion of a page in the paper, complete with photo. A similar eulogy seemed the following day in the Boston Globe. The West End Historical centre, devoted to keeping alive the memory of Boston’s old West End area, the neighbourhood Annie escaped in 1894 and which was flattened during the “metropolitan restoration” wave of the 1950s, mounted a display about her in 2020. 

I had an 1890-era  sterling bicycle restored and painted the shade of Annie’s (cream white), a bike now borrowed as a component of a show on ladies and cycling that began at the Bloomfield Exhibition hall of Science in Israel and which has headed out to Germany, Poland, and, in 2021, will make its last stop in Ottawa, Canada. As she would have trusted, Annie’s story has been safeguarded from the dustbin of history and it’s been gratifying to watch, to say the least. 


I could compose a book on this subject! In a nutshell, the bicycle genuinely altered the existence of women around the turn of the twentieth century. It gave them a versatility they never had, there was an inclination of actual freedom and opportunity that accompanied gliding about on a bicycle, and practicality demanded dress more appropriate to riding than long skirts and a tightly tailored waistcoat, thus women began wearing bloomers to ride. Annie herself went through a total change in her dress as she advanced throughout the planet, beginning in long skirts and a firmly customized petticoat, however by the end, she was wearing a man’s riding outfit, including pants. She truly tested Victorian thoughts of female appropriateness. The bicycle turned into a device of strengthening and an image of the women’ testimonial development. As Susan B. Anthony once said, “Bicycling has done more to liberate women than everything else on the planet.” 


Annie arrived in San Francisco from Japan aboard a steamer in March 1985. Accompanied by a prominent cyclist from S.F. named Mark Johnson, she spent a leisurely six weeks riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles, arriving in Santa Barbara on the night of May 13, 1895. A major bicycle racing event was scheduled in the city for May 15, which the Santa Barbara Daily Independent predicted would be “the biggest day in wheelmen’s circles that Santa Barbara ever saw.”  

Annie was on hand; one journalist noticed how tanned she was. She was very well known at this point and a fascination by her own doing, so the race coordinators welcomed her to ride a few times past the show-off. She frustrated a few, notwithstanding, by declining to partake in a planned run, as she had and would sometimes do in different urban communities. 

Be that as it may, the Free was liberal about her refusal to race, saying “nothing, not exactly the Earth” would suit Annie for a course. “She went ahead of the show off in the wake of giving her display,” announced the Free, “and gave a short talk, wherein she recounted leaving Boston without a penny and drawers made of paper … she portrayed her course throughout the planet, recounted being available at one of the large oriental fights [a reference to the Sino-Japanese War — Ed.] … “ 

A portion of this was made up, as Annie was tied in with turning a decent yarn and exciting crowds. Any reasonable person would agree that my new book about her, Twist, which is a work of verifiable fiction, is about her own recorded lady fiction continuously. 


Annie’s storey enlightens us so much regarding the 1890s, about how the bicycle drastically changed the existences of women, about the tightened daily routines women were relied upon to experience, about the reporting of the period, about the manners in which changes in interchanges and transportation innovation was making the world a “more modest” place. 

However she was a defective individual whose choices, particularly her choice to vanish from the existences of her small kids, were now and then cruel and narcissistic, she was by and by a lady of limitless moxie who shaded way outside the lines. What’s more, as the platitude goes, respectful women infrequently impact the world forever. 

She was a mysterious Jewish housewife and mother living in a Boston apartment and extremely discontent with her general situation. By dint of sheer chutzpah and an unfathomable creative mind, inside 15 months, she had transformed herself into a worldwide superstar though under an expected name, Annie Londonderry, a name that was acquired from the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Co. of New Hampshire, the first of numerous promoters who bought space on her bicycle and her body. She took another name and developed an altogether new individual a quintessentially American thing to do.

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