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The Lost Cyclist by David V. Herlihy
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's review
Jul 25, 2010

it was amazing
Read from July 25 to August 02, 2010

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 most dangerous, uncivilized regions. As he rode across the American heartland, through the Orient, and into the Middle Eastern desert, Lenz took scores of photos and sent regular dispatches to Outing magazine, each one brimming with descriptions of exotic locales, grinding hardships, and near-death experiences.

Two years into his spectacular journey, Lenz disappeared in eastern Turkey, a country shaken by Kurd-Armenian warfare. Rumor swiftly arose that he had been murdered. While Americans demanded a resolution, Outing magazine sent famous ‘globe girdler’ William Sachtleben to the war-torn country to investigate Lenz’s alleged murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Lost Cyclist has a broader appeal than most books: mystery fans, history buffs, cycling enthusiasts, and true crime aficionados will all find something to appreciate.

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