South through Boston - Across America - 70 years ago - CycleBlaze

South through Boston

IF I WAS astonished at my bicycle's disappearance, my host was dumbstruck, although not for long. When speech returned, he told the world in no uncertain measure, and his three "hired helps" jumped to do his biddings, which were many and varied.

Phones were set ringing, police and "special department" officials contacted, and the modest hotel was soon thronged with uniforms. The drama fizzled out within an hour. Down the road, a bell gaily ringing attracted attention and all within the hotel rushed out of doors. There was my prized bicycle making an uncertain progress towards me, a boy about twelve years of age doing his best to keep a level course.

Explanations did not take long. The miscreant was the son of a guest, and had noted my arrival the previous evening; he had also paid particular attention to where my machine had been stable. Rising at an unearthly hour, he had unlocked the shed wherein lay that which he so greatly desired, and had satisfied his urge to ride upon a real lightweight machine, so different from the heavy, awkward bicycles he had been accustomed to straddle.

I left the boy's father, my friend from Oregon, the police captain , and sundry other officials to wind up affairs as they liked, and made a much-delayed start in direction of the State line, fifteen miles away. Crossing into New Hampshire at Portsmouth, I rode but another fifteen miles before making my acquaintance with Massachusetts. My notes show only a quarter of the English-sounding places through which I passed on the way to Boston, but I recall seeing Ipswich, Leominster, Carlisle, Bedford, Reading, and Wakefield on signposts.

Entering Boston along a well-named Broadway, I discovered the only "High Street" of my tour. Here I made friends with a Scots policeman, and

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through his good offices secured first-class accommodation. One hundred and three miles had been ridden since the excitement of the morning, making a total of 580 in five days. I was sufficiently well ahead of schedule to allow myself the luxury of a "day off", and my temporary landlord constituted himself guide and counsellor on the morrow.

In his car he drove me along Highway Nine to Worcester, a swift journey of forty miles. Here I had relatives, long removed from Kidderminster, in our English Worcestershire, and as they had not been apprised of my coming, something in the nature of an upheaval occurred in their quiet home.

Back to Boston in the evening, my host did everything but tuck me into bed, called me at five a.m., as I desired, and waved me good-bye from his porch. U.S. Highway Number One was alive with traffic (all on the "wrong" side of the road, for even after a lengthy spell in America it still seemed unnatural to travel alongside right-hand kerbs!) I crossed into Connecticut in the late afternoon, and finished the day in New London, ready to tackle a most exciting journey on the morrow, for every signpost bore the legend, "New York City," even if the mileage following was rather depressing to a cyclist anxious to cross the celebrated Mason-Dixon, line in a search for the Sunny South.

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