Comply with alongside as an Athens man rides a heavy, one-speed bicycle world wide within the Nineteen Thirties in lately republished e book – Information – Athens Banner-Herald
A exceptional man’s exceptional story is now as soon as once more accessible for proclamation, because of the College of Georgia Press.
Earlier this summer time, the UGA Press re-released “Across the World on a Bicycle,” a mixture travelogue-and-memoir written within the mid-Nineteen Thirties by Athens icon Fred Birchmore, who might most likely safely say that driving his bike throughout the globe might not have been essentially the most fascinating factor he’d ever carried out in his life.
Over an 18-month interval in 1935 and 1936, Birchmore pedaled a 42-pound, one-speed bicycle he known as Bucephalus (named after Alexander the Nice’s horse and now residing within the Smithsonian) on a 25,000-mile sojourn that crossed Eurasia and created countless tales of journey.
These tales included being pursued by a tiger in Burma (now generally known as Myanmar) for 3 days, assembly film idol Sonja Henie, visiting some 40 nations, and seeing Adolph Hitler within the days earlier than the onset of World Battle II.
“Totally different individuals are going to get various things out of the e book, however it’s only a nice journey story,” stated David Des Jardins, who labored on this and lots of different books in a 30-year profession with the UGA Press. “He rode a really primary, very heavy one-speed bike And he rode this world wide. It was simply loopy, and I say that in an admiring means. He was very daring and daring.”
Des Jardins, who retired from the press earlier this summer time, stated that Birchmore – who hiked the Appalachian Path on the age of 63 and hiked the Inca Path in Peru at age 66 – was at all times desirous to journey, discover and be taught.
“I by no means met him however you’d virtually need to watch out what you stated to him,” Des Jardins stated of Birchmore, who died in Athens in 2012 on the age of 100 after lengthy and colourful careers in commerce and neighborhood service. “In the event you stated one thing like, ‘I’ve by no means been to Wyoming; I guess it could be cool to go.’ He’d say, ‘Let’s go!’ And also you’d be on the spot as a result of he was at all times able to go. His members of the family and youngsters stated he was at all times up for an journey. He needed to see what was over the following hill.”
The return of “Across the World on a Bicycle” additionally has a robust historic tone because the UGA Press initially revealed Birchmore’s manuscript in 1939 and it was – as Des Jardins stated – the second e book launched by the press and the primary the place the printing, typesetting and binding have been all executed on campus.
The primary version, and a second launch by the Birchmore household’s personal publishing firm within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, have lengthy since gone out of print, and Des Jardins stated the time was proper to carry a barely up to date model of the e book out once more.
“We’ve at all times recognized about this e book, if for no different purpose than it was one of many first books the press revealed, however within the 30 years I’ve been right here folks have stated it is a actually good e book and it’s a disgrace it’s not again in print,” he stated.
“I picked it up and began studying it. At across the similar time, our publicist, who’s a severe bike owner, knew concerning the e book and he thought it could be a good suggestion to carry it again to print. In fact, a number of folks at UGA and a few folks on the press knew Fred Birchmore and he was a one-of-a-kind particular person.”
Des Jardins stated he wound up studying the e book 5 occasions throughout a three-month interval. The images within the unique publication have been digitized and new images have been contributed by the Birchmore household.
“We bought in contact with the Birchmore household they usually have been actually happy that we have been going to return out with a brand new version,” stated Des Jardins. “So we fully redesigned this re-creation and gathered as many images as we might. We rescanned all of the images that appeared in earlier editions and the household really discovered some new ones. It took a while to establish a few of them, which was form of enjoyable for me, and I had a whole lot of assist from the household. By the entire course of the household was simply great.”
Whereas participating, the mission — which additionally yielded an Book version — was additionally rewarding to Des Jardins, an Albany native who wore quite a lot of hats throughout his three many years on the UGA Press. It was considered one of his last assignments previous to his retirement.
“I didn’t sponsor a whole lot of books we revealed,” he stated. “In my complete 30 years there, (I sponsored) perhaps 10 books as a result of that wasn’t actually my job; I used to be extra in advertising. But it surely was considered one of my final huge tasks and completely considered one of my favourite in all my 30 years.”
For extra data on “Across the World on a Bicycle,” go to www.ugapress.org.