“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” Or, I don’t know…something about a bicycle built for two?

All right, I’m giving myself until I finish this post to think of a hilarious bicycle-related subtitle and then I’m just going with the first thing that pops into my head.

“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” was first published in, huh. Wait a minute. According to Leslie, it was published in Collier’s on December 26, 1903 and then in the Strand in January 1904. Is this the first time that the States got him first?! I’m amazed. And, according to Baring-Gould, it took place, despite what Watson says, Saturday, April 13 to Saturday, April 20 1895.

The only interesting note I have from Leslie is in the essay on Victorians and bicycling which follows the short story. The Catalogue of an Exhibition on Sherlock Holmes Held at Abby House Baker Street, London NW1, May-September 1951 (I imagine this to be like the Holmesian version of the travelling Harry Potter exhibit that’s making the rounds) included a letter from the managing director of Raleigh Industries Limited, Nottingham which accompanied one of their bicycles included in the exhibition which read:

Dear Lord Donegall,

Referring to your letter of the 20th April, in which you inform me of your present researches into the whereabouts of the cycle belonging to Miss Violet Smith . . ., I am pleased to be able to tell you that on looking back through our files for 1895 and 1896 we have been able to trace a Humber bicycle which we delivered to Miss Smith’s father at Charlington Hall. As you recall in your letter, Miss Smith married and having no further use for the vehicle sold it back to us. Many years later when it became apparent that our earliest products would be of historical interest, it was placed among other examples of this firm’s craftsmanship. It was not, however, until your letter called attention to the fact, that Raleigh Industries Limited realised the very special value of this bicycle, in view of its association with the immortal detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

I know I’m kind of reaching here for anything at all to talk about (and Leslie points out some inaccuracies here, too), but I just love the extent to which the bicycle company played along with the Holmesians here in their contribution to the exhibit.

And the only thing I have to say regarding Baring-Gould is that he seems to be developing a new obsession – not that he’s letting go of his exhaustive efforts to pinpoint dates in the canon – and that is the inaccuracies of Watson’s train timetables. Twice he points out mentions of trains which never existed – even correcting him by two minutes (apparently there was a 9:15 train from Waterloo to Farnham, but not, as Watson says, a 9:13 one). And it only makes me love him the more.

And once again, that’s it! I’d say we’re working towards The Hound of the Baskervilles at this point – things ought to liven up a bit once we get there. Next week, however, it’s on to “The Adventure of the Priory School” – keep your fingers crossed that the Holmesians have some spectacular revelation waiting for us!

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.


4 thoughts on ““The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” Or, I don’t know…something about a bicycle built for two?

    • Okay, I have to admit to quite a few fangirl-y moments when I saw your comment (I still can’t believe Leslie Klinger actually stumbled across and then commented on my blog)!

      I think you mean the note about the Dunlop tyre tread actually saying ‘DUNLOP DUNLOP DUNLOP’? I liked it very much, but if that’s the one you mean…I’m afraid it’s in ‘The Priory School.’ The idea of Holmes trying to impress Watson with that bit of ‘deduction’ makes me laugh and I promise to mention it in my write-up tomorrow (and will be sure to point out that it’s your cleverest bit of research)! 😉

  1. Pingback: “The Adventure of the Priory School” Or, Holmes, even Watson’s not going to buy that ‘deduction’…. « My blank page

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