Suppose you are hardcore? Try this Ingersoll, Ont., bike owner who travelled the world within the Thirties

Angelena Iglesia

For those who’re a bike owner on the lookout for inspiration this summer time, attempt wanting again in time to the Thirties when the world was totally different, as had been the bicycles.

Ingersoll, Ont., shoe salesman Douglas Carr was in his mid-20s when he booked a ticket on a transatlantic steamship to London, England, to observe the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Carr then went on an unimaginable journey world wide — largely accomplished by bicycle, a lot to the delight of modern-day thrill seekers.

“So he thought, ‘I am this removed from dwelling. I am going to do some sightseeing.’ So he purchased a bicycle,” mentioned Scott Gillies, curator on the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum, who knew Carr in his later years when he owned an area bookshop. 

Carr then cycled round Nice Britain and Europe, and ventured so far as Denmark and Sweden, mentioned Gillies.

Images from Douglas Carr's personal collection that he used during presentations about his trip.
Pictures from Carr’s private assortment that he used throughout shows about his journey. (Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum)

In Rome, Carr received a brand new three-speed bicycle, regrouped after which cycled all the way in which to the tip of Africa.

“Douglas Carr was a fairly superb particular person,” mentioned Sean Smith, Archives of Ontario’s curator. 

“For those who have a look at the map of the place he travelled, a variety of these locations do not exist anymore,” mentioned Smith. “The names on the map have modified significantly. What’s superb is simply to consider the fragility of the world on the time throughout which he was travelling.”

All I can think about is that he received the journey bug and one factor led to a different and clearly he should have had some some success and a few good experiences to maintain him going.– Scott Smith, Archives of Ontario

Smith documented his journey meticulously in journals and images. 

“We’re lucky right here on the Archives of Ontario to have the entire journals that he maintained throughout his two years of journey world wide,” mentioned Smith. “These equate to over 4,000 pages of of written information, his reflections, his experiences.

“He additionally stored a sequence of images and he labored with them when he received again. He numbered them, he put them in a sequence. He had a presentation referred to as 30 Moons Across the World that he delivered largely in assist of the Canadian Most cancers Society.”

This map lays out the route shoe salesman Douglas Carr of Ingersoll, Ont., cycled between 1937 and 1939.
This map lays out the route Carr, an Ingersoll, Ont., shoe salesman, cycled between 1937 and 1939. (Archives of Ontario)

Bicycle on show

After ending his trip via Africa, Carr set his sights on India.

“All I can think about is that he received the journey bug and one factor led to a different,” mentioned Smith. “Clearly he should have had some some success and a few good experiences to maintain him going.”

“When he left Cape City, he left the bicycle within the care of a shopkeeper who promised to ship it again to Ingersoll,” famous Gillies.

Carr then labored on a ship, which took him to Southeast Asia and ultimately India. By then, he was travelling by public transit, mentioned Gillies.

He mentioned that as a result of the Second World Warfare slowed or stopped all non-essential delivery, it could take a while for Carr’s bike to make it to Ingersoll.

In actual fact, Carr had returned dwelling, joined the Royal Canadian Air Drive and went again to Europe to serve within the warfare earlier than his bicycle made it to Ingersoll.

Scott Gillies is the curator at the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum. The museum houses the bicycle Carr rode through Africa in the late 1930s.
Scott Gillies is the curator on the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum, which homes the bicycle Carr rode via Africa within the late Thirties. (Submitted by Scott Gillies)

“In 1949, he will get a letter in Ingersoll from South Africa to say, ‘Your bicycle is on its means,’ mentioned Gillies. “This shopkeeper had sat on the bicycle, tucked it away in his attic, for 10, 11 years and nonetheless honoured the settlement to return this bicycle to Doug Carr.”

After Carr died in 1994, his household donated the bicycle to the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum, the place it stays on show.

“We have got the unique bicycle with the unique saddle luggage that had been customized made for it in Cairo,” mentioned Gillies. “The little provider on the entrance handlebars, the hand brakes, the unique bicycle pump is all nonetheless a part of the bike.”

It was in tough form after they received it, he mentioned. “The tires had 21 patches on every wheel. It was simply worn out from biking via Africa.”

Fuelling up with fresh coconuts in the Philippines. Douglas Carr kept a journal and took many photographs on his trip around the world.
Fuelling up with recent coconuts within the Philippines. Carr stored a journal and took many images on his journey world wide. (Archives of Ontario)

London Morning6:50Douglas Carr’s biking journey across the globe

London Morning host Rebecca Zandbergen spoke with Sean Smith with the Archives of Ontario about Douglas Carr’s biking legacy. Carr’s bike — the identical one he rode world wide — is on show on the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum.

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