Victorian Strangeness: The cyclist chased by a lion


lioncycleGreat story.

There were upsides and downsides to the day Mr DC Robertson decided to go for a spin on his bike in the countryside.

Let’s start with the plus points. He had a good run out. He got plenty of fresh air. He saw a splendid sunset. And he had an invigorating cardiovascular workout too, although that brings us neatly to the main minus – that he was chased relentlessly for two miles by a ravenous lion.

It was an August afternoon in 1898 when the Scotsman took a ride through the Malawian bush from the town of Blantyre back to his coffee plantation.

As the sun slipped down below the horizon, he turned from the main road, and joined the lane to the estate. The track had just been laid, he later recounted, and was still soft and rather lumpy, as well as being punishingly steep. These things, it would soon turn out, would become problematic.