Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010
: Frank Lenz was a man driven by his passions. As an accomplished "wheelman" during the late 19th century, Lenz’s dreams were dominated by the emerging sport of cycling and an intense desire to make a name for himself. In May of 1892, he attempted to fuse both by embarking on a quest to circumscribe the globe by bicycle. The journey had already been accomplished in tandem, but Lenz upped the ante--and raised eyebrows--by announcing he would ride his dangerous route alone. The Lost Cyclist
is a riveting tale of tragedy, pride, and naivete that is both brilliantly told and meticulously researched. Opinions may differ as to whether Lenz was unaware or unconcerned by the inherent dangers he faced, but the story of his fateful journey belongs on the varied shelves of cycling enthusiasts, mystery fans, and nonfiction devotees alike. --Dave Callanan Product Description
In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He finally got his chance by recasting himself as a champion of the downsized "safety-bicycle" with inflatable tires, the forerunner of the modern road bike that was about to become wildly popular. In the spring of 1892 he quit his accounting job and gamely set out west to cover twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent for Outing
magazine. Two years later, after having survived countless near disasters and unimaginable hardships, he approached Europe for the final leg.
He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing
to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz's trail. Bringing to light a wealth of information, Herlihy's gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. This untold story culminates with Sachtleben's heroic effort to bring Lenz's accused murderers to justice, even as troubled Turkey teetered on the edge of collapse.
A Look Inside The Lost Cyclist
(Click on Images to Enlarge)
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|Lenz (far right) in Glenshaw, with W. T. McClarren and Charles Petticord ||Lenz (far left) and Petticord (center) on Smithfield bridge, leaving for New Orleans. August 1891 ||From left to right: Petticord, McClarren, Lenz, and identified friend near Natrona. Note Lenz's homemade umbrella. ||Lenz in Washington, PA |
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|Lenz and Petticord meet two "safety" riders on the National Road in Lewisville, IN, August 1890 ||Lenz tips his cap in Greenfield, IN. August 1890 ||Lenz and Petticord in Effingham, IL, on their way to St. Louis, August 1890 along the National Road ||Petticord and Lenz in Collinsville, IL, August 1890. |
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. When the bicycle first gained popularity in the 1880s, intrepid daredevils were quick to seize upon it as a tool of exploration and an indicator of resourcefulness. Frank Lenz and William Sachtleben were two such enthusiasts. Sachtleben and a partner had gained notoriety for cycling almost across the globe, including through China, a region that was alien to Westerners at the time (they traversed particularly difficult sections by train). But Lenz proposes something truly dangerous: he will cycle the entire world alone, and he won't shy away from the hard parts. Lenz's exploits become the talk of the cycling world, but don't reach prominence in America until he disappears in eastern Turkey, a hairsbreadth from reaching his goal. Sachtleben is sent to Turkey to investigate and ends up wading through government corruption, tribal alliances, and a region in the throes of revolution. This meticulously-researched account exposes readers to an unfamiliar world. Readers with a love of cycling or curiosity about this moment in history will appreciate Herlihy's knowledge and passion, but the simply curious may feel at times like they're pedaling uphill.