“The Lost Cyclist” is a true story about a young American cyclist by the name of Frank Lenz who, in the late 1800’s, sets off on a mission to cycle around the world and secure his place in the record books. Unfortunately, Frank never makes it home. He successfully navigates his way 3/4 of the way around the globe and then goes missing somewhere in the middle of Turkey. “The Lost Cyclist” is the story of Frank Lenz, the world-wide bicycle scene at this point in history, and a detailed account of just how much the world has changed since this incredible point in time over 100 years ago.
To hear my thoughts on the book, watch the video above or read the video transcript below. Then, be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this page, where the author of the book, David V. Herlihy, discusses Frank Lenz and shares his thoughts on “The Lost Cyclist”.
The following is a transcript of the video book review above:
Hello! Darren Alff here from BicycleTouringPro.com. I just finished reading an awesome book called “The Lost Cyclist” and I wanted to tell you all about it.
The book is by a name named David V. Herlihy, and I’m not sure if I’m saying his last name right. I think you can see his name right there. David V. Herlihy.
This is the book that I’ve been reading. This is an advanced copy that was sent to me several months ago and, as you can see, I’ve thoroughly destroyed the book. Which for me means that this was a really good book and I really enjoyed it. I lost the cover somewhere, but this is what the book is supposed to look like.
“The Lost Cyclist” is the story of Frank Lenz, a young cyclist in the late 1800’s who set off to travel around the world on his bicycle. And what’s interesting to me about this book is, I’ve read a lot of books about people cycling around the world, but I’ve heard of people this long ago going off on such tremendous adventures. Really, at this point in history, the bicycle was just taking off amongst comsumers – people who could go out and buy a bicycle for themselves and use it for transportation in their daily lives. So, it’s a really interesting read in that regards. Just simply to see how these bike races were going on, bike clubs were forming, bike shops were popping up all over the place… and people like Frank Lenz were setting off on wild adventures to cycle around the world. So, from a historical standpoint, this is an incredible book and the author should be extremely proud.
This is a true story by the way. And the information in this book is compiled from various journals, newspaper articles, magazine articles that were written during this time. The amount of research the author must have had to do in order to put this book together is really quite impressive. I can’t imagine having to do all this research myself.
But it makes for a very interesting read. From the very first paragraph you are kind of transported back in time and here you are, back in the late 1800’s with Frank Lenz, cycling around the world. It’s really cool!
There are a number of pictures in the book. The pictures are really interesting because (many of them) are in famous places around the world that you can readily recognize. Here’s one in Rome. And just to see the world fro their perspective 100 years ago is really, really interesting. I’ve read a lot of books about bicycle touring and bicycling in general, but never have I read a book about bicycling at this point in history. So, it’s really, really cool.
The only thing I would criticize about the book is that it is a little long-winded at times. But I found that kind of enjoyable, because the long-windedness is often times in regards to certain negotiations (conversations and correspondences) that are going on between various people in the book.
Frank Lenz cycles around the world and makes it through China, which the book makes out to be some kind of barbaric wasteland or something, which when I think of China today, I don’t think of it that way at all. So, it’s kind of interesting in that regards as well – just to see how our notions of various countries has changed. But Frank cycles about three-quarters of the way around the world, gets to Turkey and disappears. I don’t want to say what happens after that, but there’s a big search to find Frank and see what happened to him. And the book ends in a way that is somewhat predictable, but very, very interesting.
I think that is what is most interesting about the book is not that the book is entirely about Frank Lenz and his exploits around the world, but it’s also about a number of other key players int he cycling community at this point in time. And the book touches on how Frank’s journey around the world affects the people that were close to him – his mother, friends, and those in the cycling community.
So, that’s it! If you’re looking for an awesome read – “The Lost Cyclist” by David V. Herlihy. I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
If you’re looking for a great gift this winter, for the holidays, for a friend, family member or loved one who enjoys history and cycling, this would make for an excellent gift.
My Rating Of This Book: 9.5 out of 10