The Lost Cyclist: The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey

The Lost Cyclist: The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey

David V. Herlihy / Feb 19, 2020

The Lost Cyclist The Untold Story of Frank Lenz s Ill Fated Around the World Journey In the spring of Frank G Lenz a gallant young accountant from a modest German American family set forth from his unhappy home in Pittsburgh to circle the globe atop a new safety bicycle with i

  • Title: The Lost Cyclist: The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey
  • Author: David V. Herlihy
  • ISBN: 9781907195693
  • Page: 112
  • Format: ebook
  • In the spring of 1892, Frank G Lenz, a gallant young accountant from a modest German American family, set forth from his unhappy home in Pittsburgh to circle the globe atop a new safety bicycle with inflatable tyres the forerunner of today s road bike He brought along a large wooden camera and arranged to send regular reports to his sponsor, Outing magazine, effectivIn the spring of 1892, Frank G Lenz, a gallant young accountant from a modest German American family, set forth from his unhappy home in Pittsburgh to circle the globe atop a new safety bicycle with inflatable tyres the forerunner of today s road bike He brought along a large wooden camera and arranged to send regular reports to his sponsor, Outing magazine, effectively making him a harbinger of the great bicycle boom that was about to explode with stunning social and industrial repercussions Two years, fourteen thousand miles and many adventures later, after crossing the United States, Japan, China, Burma, India and Persia, just as he was about to enter Europe for the home stretch, Lenz vanished His presumed murder in Asiatic Turkey jolted the American public and became an international cause c l bre.The Lost Cyclist recounts, for the first time ever, the short but remarkable life of Lenz and the heroic efforts of another American globe girdler , William L Sachtleben, who was sent by Outing to unravel Lenz s mysterious death in Turkey all set against the horrifying backdrop of the Hamidian massacres.

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    About "David V. Herlihy"

      • David V. Herlihy

        David V Herlihy is a historian and freelance writer.


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    1. Social networks collate travel photos, Lonely Planet and its competitors find hotels, and travelogues have become so numerous that we can spend months exploring them before going to the airport. Perhaps the best way to find the unknown is to read a travelogue from the 19th century. David V. Herilhy, author of Bicycle: The History, offers a two-for-one deal: a travelogue and an epic tale of adventure and mystery.Back in the 1890s, Frank Lenz set out from Pittsburgh to cycle around the world alone [...]


    2. I was mildly disappointed by this book. The story, in the summary, seemed like an incredible one and I couldn't wait to get started.The book is broken up into manageable parts each covering a country traveled. It's a fascinating story, once you actually dig through the somewhat dry text to get to it and I'm glad I pushed my way through the book, but yes, it was dry reading.I think one of my favorite parts of the book was in the beginning. Up until reading this book I'd never considered how diffe [...]


    3. In the 1890's bicyclists were called wheelmen. The were transitioning from the high wheeled boneshakers to what was called a safety bike, similar to the bikes we ride today.Frank Lenz was a wheelman, he participated in racing, and long distance rides, hoping to escape his boring life as an accountant. His goal was to ride around the world on a bicycle by himself.He had watched as William Sachtleben and a partner, traveled around the world, and he felt he would succeed solo.Hardship was part of t [...]


    4. This volume covers three connected events: the nineteenth century circling of the globe on bicycle by Americans Sachtleben and Allen, a similar attempt by Frank Lenz that ends in the cyclist's disappearance, and Sachtleben's attempt to find Lenz. The begining of the book offers a glimpse into early American cycling, the middle reads much like a travelogue, and the end dips into geopolitics. The result is a strange and sometimes dissonant mix.This is one of those nonfiction works where you can te [...]


    5. In short, this was a good story that fell a little flat in the telling.The most interesting parts of this book were pretty much all in the first half, as Herlihy brings us through the early days of the bicycle, with bicycle clubs popping up all over the nation and cyclists debating the merits of the newer "safety" bicycle (with its two equally sized wheels) versus the "high wheeler." By the time the book ends, the glory days of cycling are past, with the automobile supplanting the bicycle as the [...]


    6. The story should have been fascinating and thrilling. A lone man in the early days of the bicycle, attempting to travel the world by himself, disappears in a dangerous part of Turkey. Why, then, was it so boring? The story of the titular lost cyclist was interspersed with the story of two other world travelers. Then his story ends and the book spends quite a lot of time detailing the agonizingly slow debate over whether he even disappeared at all. Maybe he's in Russia. Maybe it's a hoax. Maybe h [...]


    7. This book is set in the 1890s when cycling was new and hot. A few young guys took the craze to the limit by attempting to cycle around the world. William Sachtleben completed the feat with his partner Allen (500 miles of it by ship) and later Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh tried to do it solo going west rather than east. He made it all the way to Turkey (carried his bicycle thru most of western China and Burma) where he disappeared. His sponsor, a cycling magazine, sent Sachtleben out to find him. Unf [...]


    8. This is a long-winded reporting on 2 round-the-world bicycle trips. The viewpoint from 1890s is interesting Bbut the stories sound like disconnected letters: lifted from diaries and interviews, including some detailed events. But the writing is less dramatic than the otherwise good story, especially the slow sections trying to guess if and how Lenz has disappeared (spoiler: Lenz is the titled lost cyclist). Maybe could've been improved by expanding on technical progress of bicycle : what were al [...]


    9. Gripping tale of a man who bicycle almost AROUND THE WORLD in the early 1890s before being murdered in Turkey. Only loses one point because the second half of the book about the investigation of his murder bogs down somewhat.


    10. For those who are interested in the history of early bicycle travel (rather than solving the mystery).



    11. I enjoy books about travel, and was intrigued to find this book about a cyclist circling the world in the late eighteen hundreds. It was rare enough to make that journey by other transportation at that time, so to do it by bicycle was impressive. And since it's non-fiction, it's hard to believe that such feats where accomplished with the machines available at that time.The Lost Cyclist tells three stories in a sense. The first being that of Sachtleben and Allen, two men who traveled around the w [...]


    12. I came across a copy of The Lost Cyclist in a free bin at one of the local bookstores and had honestly never heard of it nor Frank Lenz in my life, but I was so glad to have discovered this book as I immensely enjoyed reading it. Herlihy delves quite a bit into the history of cycling, and given that I've never had much of an interest in bicycles, I wouldn't have thought I'd find that aspect of this book interesting yet I surprisingly did. It was fascinating to read about how cyclists initially a [...]


    13. This was a good travel "adventure" story (or really, three stories) although it bogs down towards the middle of the third part. If I hadn't been on a plane with nothing much else to read (besides work stuff) I would have put it aside.There are three parts to this - one is the story of the west-to-east bicycle travel of William Sachtleben and a friend in the first days of the "safety bicycle" (essentially a modern two wheeler but with hard tires), the second is the east-to-west travel of Frank Le [...]


    14. This book had potential to be a 4 or even 5 star book, but the author made some unfortunate odd choices that lowered the final rating. Set in the later 1800s, this is the story of the early days of cycling. Our hero, Lenz, starts on one of those odd-looking (to us) big wheels, slowly moving to the "safety" (what we think of as the normal bike). We learn a lot about those early bikes, and it's really quite impressive how the early riders raced and took long trips over not-well-paved roads. The de [...]


    15. I rate this book as one that I liked the idea of reading more than I enjoyed actually reading.To be sure the book has a lot going for it, if you are into this kind of thing. It has wonderful photography. It has lots of information about the early days of bicycles here in the US, and around the world, too! It has excerpts from letters written by Americans in places like China from the 1890s. Pretty crazy stuff contained within. But this book also has a lot not going for it. It is such a painstaki [...]


    16. In 1892 Frank Lenz leaves New York City on his new bicycle to with a goal to cycle through America, cross the ocean to Japan, and make his way through China, Turkey, Afghanistan, and through Europe in an attempt to circle the world by bicycle. At the same time, two other wheelers, Wm. Sachtleben and Thomas Allen are Americans who began their round-the world cycling tour in England and headed eastward , through Greece, and on through Turkey to China, then cross America from west to east. The Sach [...]


    17. I am conflicted about this book: I enjoyed the topic: cyclists traveling the world at the end of the 19th century, taking pictures, and one of them mysteriously disappearing, in areas where sometimes no other Western man had ever gone. The snippets about landscape and people are short but give a good idea. The synopsis of the book is actually confusing: it just speaks about the Lost Cyclist, and it sounded like another guy was looking after him after his disappearance – he does, but only later [...]


    18. In this less adventurous age and less energetic society the idea of riding a bicycle around the world is not calculated to draw much enthusiastic response. Doing it in the 1890s required more than the normal quotient of courage and stamina.In that period when the bicycle was the focus of an enthusiastic boom riders were going distances that stagger the imagination today. Herlihy has rescued from obscurity the amazing story of not just one heroic adventurer but also that of the brave and resource [...]


    19. History is rife with fascinating but forgotten cases of lost explorers and unsolved murders. David Herlihy’s The Lost Cyclist includes both. It also spotlights the bicycle craze of the 1890s and the Gilded Age passion for conquering unknown territory.In the spring of 1892 Frank Lenz, a modestly famous competitive cyclist from Pittsburgh, announced that he was undertaking a trans-continental bicycle trip that would encompass over twenty thousand miles and take him through some of the world’s [...]


    20. THE LOST CYCLIST by David V. Herlihy was published in 2010. I enjoyed this book.Image riding a bicycle around the world through places such as China, Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Now it image you are doing that in 1893. You just have reluctantly switched from your high-wheel bike to one of the new safety bikes due to your sponsor’s requirements. In the USA you have to ride across the rail road ties because there are not enough roads. After the USA the conditions get worse. This is [...]


    21. This book is filled with interesting stories -- rather too many, in fact. It's only 300 pages, but it feels like a much more sprawling work.The book is nominally about the disappearance of Frank G. Lenz, a Pittsburgh accountant who decided to circle the world on a bicycle in the early 1890s. He is in many ways a precursor to Christopher McCandless of "Into the Wild." Both were in their early 20s, promising young men fleeing troubled home lives who undertook adventures that were equal parts admir [...]


    22. The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy It's very different reading non-fiction compared to fiction. In some ways the story, plot and ending are already done and all that needs doing is threading it together. Then again in some ways maybe it's harder to write non-fiction because you are bound by the facts and if the facts are not that interesting then.There really were some fascinating moments in this book. Franl Nez's trip through countries and place where white people had seldom be seen and bicycle [...]


    23. In the latter part of the 19th century, bicycling became enormously popular in America. It started with the very high wheeled bike with a tiny trailing wheel. These were cumbersome and dangerous. About 1890 there appeared a new type of bicycle called the safety bike. The photos in this book show the safety bicycle, whose design is exactly the same as modern bikes - minus such refinements as brakes and gears. This book, in addition to giving the reader a glimpse into the world of cycling 120 year [...]


    24. This is one of those rare but enjoyable histories that takes you places you know nothing about and delivers some powerful twists. I assumed I was going to be learning mostly about the history of cycling, which I did. But this particular cyclist blundered into the Armenian massacre that took place under Turkish rule--a tragic genocide unknown to most Americans. So what starts out as a sepia tinged tale of the Gay '90s turns into a tragic story of how westerners with tunnel vision, meddling in pol [...]


    25. One of the most enjoyable histories I've ever read -- largely because of the subject, but also because Herlihy tells such a gripping, romantic, mysterious story. His research is impeccable, and the narrative pedals along as steadily as a bike on rough roads. Although his story is tragic, Frank Lenz has become a new hero of mine, for his humble Pittsburgh origins, his tenacious "globe-girdling" venture, and his martyrdom in the name of anthropology of adventure. I wanted to begrudge his rivals (o [...]


    26. This is a fun book especially if you have an interest in cycling. First - you can't imagine how those people could ride so far on the old style bikes, fully loaded with the old heavy cameras. It's hard enough riding on top-of-the-line bikes. Second, the feats are tremendous - traveling all over the world at a time when people rarely traveled to another state.The story is about a man who wanted to ride around the world and ended up being killed in Turkey. Another cyclist was sent to uncover the m [...]


    27. I usually give 5* to books that contain, to my opinion, no flaws; this book is different though, the positive aspects overpower the flaws so much that I feel that 5* is the only thing that the book deserves. Somehow, from the start I connected with the story of Frank Lenz. Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the fact that Lenz was clearly a cycling enthusiast and a bit reckless and who didn't want a 9-5 job and I could recognise myself in him. I was fully sucked into the story once the actual [...]


    28. I was surprised that I'd never heard of this before. In 1892, an adventuresome accountant from Pittsburgh named Frank Lenz decided to ride his bicycle around the world. Starting in his home town, looping through New York City and then heading west across North America, he would take in the sites and see the world. Taking a brief hiatus, he shipped to Honolulu and then Japan before tackling a westward crossing of the massive and dangerous Asian continent. As the title of David V. Herlihy's biogra [...]


    29. This book had so much promise, and yet it turned out to be so boring ? I'm still reeling at how this could have happened. You have a story about a guy -- no, three guys ! -- who decide to ride their bicycles around the world. In the 1890s. With portable cameras ! Through the Gobi Desert !! As if that wasn't enough, there's also murder, international intrigue and a rescue mission !And yet, somehow the resulting book is pretty dry. I was wondering to myself throughout the story how it could have [...]


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