In September 1895, a 20-some­thing American mother-of-three named Annie Londonderry became the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world. Except her name was not London­derry and she hadn’t pedalled nearly so far as she’d led everyone to suppose. She was a brilliant – and unabashed – self-publicist, who briefly turned herself into one of the first ersatz celebrities of modern times.Returning to her family in Boston after 15 months in the saddle, she soon faded into obscurity and would have…



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