Tolstoy had also been in his sixties when he learned how to ride a bicycle. He took his first lesson exactly one month after the death of his and Sonya’s beloved youngest son. Both the bicycle and the introductory lesson were a gift from the Moscow Society of Velocipede-Lovers. One can only guess what Sonya felt, in her mourning, to see her husband teetering along the garden paths. “Tolstoy has learned to ride a bicycle,” Chertkov noted at the time. “Is this not inconsistent with Christian ideals?
—from Elif Batuman’s The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, p. 122. (via my-ear-trumpet)