Fred A. Birchmore papers

Fred A. Birchmore papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Birchmore, Fred A., (Fred Agnew), 1911-
Title: Fred A. Birchmore papers
Dates: 1935-1939
Quantity: 0.2 Linear feet (1 half box)
Abstract:The collection consists of papers of Fred A. Birchmore from 1935-1939. The papers include correspondence, newspapers, clippings, postcards, photographs, and a scrapbook. The materials pertain to Birchmore's travels across Europe, Africa, and Asia on his bicycle (1934-1935) and the publication of his book Around the World on a Bicycle.
Coll. Number: ms713

Biographical/Historical Note

Fred A. Birchmore was born in November 1911. He is best known for taking the first trip around the world on a bicycle. He later wrote about his journey in a memoir, Around the World on a Bicycle. His global trip was in 1934 and 1935 when he was 23-24.

However, before Birchmore began cycling the world, he travelled Europe. He had just earned a law degree from the University of Georgia and was intending to go to the University of Cologne to study international law when he decided to buy a bicycle and tour the continent. The bicycle was a one-speed, 42-pound Reinhardt which he named Bucephalus, after Alexander the Great’s horse. It can be seen currently in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Before school started at the University of Cologne, he toured northern Europe with a German friend. Soon after, he traveled through Italy, France and Britain by himself.

After several months of study at the University of Cologne in Germany, Birchmore resumed his trip. He went through the Alps, to Egypt, and across Central Asia. Following this, he went the 1,300 miles of the Grand Trunk Road to Mandalay, below the Burma Road to the Malay Peninsula, through Thailand and French Indo-China. He took ships to the Philippines and resumed his ride in California, then going across the country to Athens, Georgia. The entire global trip was approximately 25,000 miles.

In 1939, Birchmore and his friend, Willie Broach, cycled to the New York World's Fair in a week's time, then rode across Canada to the Treasure Island (CA) World's Fair. Afterwards, the pair went down to Mexico and then back across to Athens, Georgia. They rode 12,000 miles in four mouths, averaging about 100 miles per day.

Later in 1939, Birchmore married Wiladean Stuckey, and the couple honeymooned on a two-seated tandem bike through Latin America. They totalled somewhere between 4,500 and 6,000 miles.

After America's involvement in World War II, Birchmore served as a gunner the United States Navy. On his return to civilian life, he ran a real estate agency and had four children with Wiladean.

When he retired in 1973, he decided to take another European tour on his bicycle, this time with his youngest son, Danny. They cycled about 4,000 miles. In 1975, the pair hiked 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Since his retirement, Birchmore has remained in Athens, Georgia, and continues to be focused on physical health, travel, and adventure. In 1996, he ran the Olympic torch through North Campus to the University of Georgia Arches.


Arranged by record type.

Index Terms

Authors, American--Georgia.
Bicycle touring--Africa.
Bicycle touring--Asia.
Bicycle touring--Europe.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Fred A. Birchmore papers, MS 713. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related collections in this repository: Fred A. Birchmore collection, MS 2960.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Correspondence, November 17, 1935-November 9, 1939
4Newspaper clippings
7"Song of China" - script
8Souvenir Display Cards