“Nowadays it is difficult to imagine, that in the first quarter of the 20th century we lived fifty verstas from the train station, without electricity and telephone. The radio did not exist even in idea, a car was not seen by anyone in that place, and when the first cyclists arrived from us and Yuryev, the women in the village stuck to the fences and crossed themselves, the children threw stones on them, the dogs chased them with furious barking all over the village, and in the village the bicycle was called чертов конь, the devil’s horse, and чертово колесо, devil’s wheel.”
Tatyana Shchepkina-Kupernik (1874-1952) drama writer and translator: Из воспоминаний (My memories), 1959
“Now he’s healthy, he cycles all the day, which is why I’m really worried, because everyone says it is harmful. The doctor comes out every day, examines Dad, but he did not find any adverse changes.”
Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya’s letter to her son, Lev Tolstoy Jr., 1895
“Tolstoy wrote every morning, then he played tennis and cycled. Sofia took some photos of him during his recent entertainment. One picture shows both of them: Sofia stands not far away, and looks lovingly at her husband. The sixty-six-year old Tolstoy had a real passion for the new fun, and Sofia bought him a bicycle, with which he made long ways both in the city and outside town.”
Alexandra Popoff: Sofia Tolstaya’s life, 2012 (on 1896)
But the village of Shchepkina-Kupernik was perhaps a bit late. In fact, in Alexey Korzuhin’s painting, Petrushka is here! we already see the bike in the dacha in 1888.
And when did the bicycle reach the village in your country? Which traces did it leave in the literature?