The Story of My Life

Part II. Letters (1887–1901)

TO CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER


I am afraid you will conclude that I am not very anxious for a tandem after all, since I have let nearly a week pass without answering your letter in regard to the kind of wheel I should like. But really, I have been so constantly occupied with my studies since we returned from New York, that I have not had time even to think of the fun it would be to have a bicycle! You see, I am anxious to accomplish as much as possible before the long summer vacation begins. I am glad, though, that it is nearly time to put away my books; for the sunshine and flowers, and the lovely lake in front of our house are doing their best to tempt me away from my Greek and Mathematics, especially from the latter! I am sure the daisies and buttercups have as little use for the science of Geometry as I, in spite of the fact that they so beautifully illustrate its principles.

But bless me, I mustn't forget the tandem! The truth is, I know very little about bicycles. I have only ridden a "sociable," which is very different from the ordinary tandem. The "sociable" is safer, perhaps, than the tandem; but it is very heavy and awkward, and has a way of taking up the greater part of the road. Besides, I have been told that "sociables" cost more than other kinds of bicycles. My teacher and other friends think I could ride a Columbia tandem in the country with perfect safety. They also think your suggestion about a fixed handlebar a good one. I ride with a divided skirt, and so does my teacher; but it would be easier for her to mount a man's wheel than for me; so, if it could be arranged to have the ladies' seat behind, I think it would be better....

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