Mr. and Mrs. McIlrath

Mr and Mrs McIlrath at Ching King

This husband-and-wife pair pedalled 28,000 miles on a world bike trip, making Hattie one of the first women to go around the world by bicycle (Annie Londonderry is often cited as the first).

The 3-year voyage took them from their starting point in Chicago to San Francisco, then to Japan by ship, through Asia and Europe. The journey ended in 1898 and the resulting book details their packing list, including 3 guns!

“All of our luggage was carried in a leather case which neatly fitted the inside angles of the bicycle frames. Our personal apparel consisted merely of a change of underwear, as we depended upon the stores in towns along our route for new clothes whenever we should need them. The remainder of our luggage cases contained photograph films, medicines, repair outfits, etc. My “artillery,” for which there was great use as it afterward happened, consisted of two 3S-caliber and one 44-caliber revolvers.”

You can read about this amazing journey in a free online book: Around the world on wheels for the Inter ocean: the travels and adventures in foreign lands


  1. Thomas Arbs
    16th April 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Now now, first woman around the world, who’ll it be, this one, or the previous “Annie Londonderry”?

  2. friedel
    16th April 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Ha, good point! You caught me 🙂 I just did some quick research and as far as I can tell, consensus is that Annie holds the title, although some say she cycled very little (travelling mostly by train and ship), which is perhaps why I also came across a reference to Mrs. McIlrath holding the title.

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