During this day’s ride we overtook an Arab cavalier on the road – one of the better class, who are usually seen mounted on short, thick-set, shaggy horses of rather dumpish appearance, and armed with long, old-fashioned guns, such as are carried in Eastern countries.
As we passed this horseman he seemed inclined to try the mettle of his horse against our wheels. The grade at this point was down and the road excellent, so, as we had never witnessed the pace of a horse such as he rode, we accepted the challenge. As he increased his speed we increased ours, till a velocity was attained that no horseman could safely exceed on a descending grade, while we were still within the limit of our speed. Letting our machines out a little more, we left him behind.
A few minutes later, when the level was reached, the clatter of hoofs was heard behind, and we saw he was going to make another trial. We quickened our pace again, but this time the physical advantages were on his side, and in a twinkling he flew by us like a whirlwind, brandishing his gun in the air, over his head, with his right hand. We shouted ‘Bien fait’ as he passed, which seemed to please him. After two or three hundred feet he drew in his horse and resumed the customary slow trot, saying, with a smile, something in Arabic, which we did not understand, as we rode on ahead. Our respect for that breed of horses was greatly increased by this exhibition of its capacity.
Tazmalt, Algeria, pre-1895
Source: Fanny Bullock Workman & William Hunter Workman, Algerian Memories: A Bicycle Tour over the Atlas to the Sahara, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1895