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Across the Channel in a Cycle-Boat
This story was published first in 1884, in The Boy’s Own Paper, a British story paper aimed at young and teenage boys. We reproduce it here for the enjoyment of boys and girls, young and old alike!
On the 25th of July last, Mr. Terry left London on the rather complicated-looking tricycle shown in our upper sketch; and at eight o'clock in the evening he reached Canterbury after a run of twenty-eight miles. During the following Thursday afternoon he went on to Dover, and after a day's rest made his way down to the beach early on the Saturday morning. He then proceeded to effect about the most startling transformation in the mechanical way that it has been the lot of a crowd of idlers to witness. He ran out his sculls, disconnected his backbone, unshipped his seat, and halved his wheels in the most deliberate manner, and then with the aid of a piece of string and a yard or two of tarpaulin calmly built up the strange-looking craft depicted hereunder.
The halves of one of the wheels, which were fastened together with bolts, were placed about a yard apart so as to form the well of the boat, and the sections of the other wheel were placed at right angles to them so as to form the stem and stern posts. The double bars of the backbone served to keep these demi-wheels in their places, and a wooden rod was stretched from tyre to tyre so as to form a keel. Round the top a string was tightened, over this came the tarpaulin, laced as we show it, and behold ! a " boat" ten feet long, four feet wide, and two feet deep ! In this arrangement Mr. Terry at nine o'clock I rowed out to sea, expecting to reach the opposite coast by about three in the afternoon.
The daily newspapers, English and foreign, contained a notice of his journey, which was very uneventful; he met with no ills or accidents, and we have good reason to believe that he did not once leave his vessel. He was sighted in mid-channel by a French fishing lugger, and eventually at five o'clock on the Sunday morning made the land at Andreselles, near Cape Grisnez—and was promptly arrested by the custom-house officers as a smuggler. They marched him off to headquarters at Boulogne, and then Mr. Terry unlaced his tarpaulin and folded it up, untied his string, unfastened his bars and backbone, screwed up his wheels, slung in his sculls, and pedalled off to Paris, while the crowd shrugged their shoulders and gazed on in amazement.
There can be no doubt that the Terry apparatus is the most original of all the convertibles; whether it is likely to be much used remains to be seen. We do not think that it will. The feat, however, was so extraordinary that we are sure our cycling friends will be glad to have it illustrated.
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