Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am
David Herlihy’s forthcoming book, The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance, has a Portland connection that’s over a century old.
Herlihy, author of the award-winning Bicycle: The History, got in touch recently to tell us a bit about the story of Frank Lenz, the “lost cyclist.”
Back in 1892, Lenz set off from Pittsburgh on his innovative “safety” bicycle (a prototype of the modern bicycle design) with an aim to cycle around the world. According to legend, and Herlihy’s book, Lenz disappeared under mysterious circumstances in Turkey two years later.
But before his strange disappearance in Turkey, Herlihy says the Portland Wheelmen (now known as the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club) gave Lenz a “hearty reception” in the fall of 1892. Here’s more from Herlihy:
“[In the book] I recount an amusing adventure he had in your city, and also publish a poignant letter he wrote from the Portland Hotel to his step-uncle, revealing that he had embarked on his tour to escape a “miserable existence” at home with his step-father.”
Here’s an old photo Herlihy shared of Lenz gazing at Mt. Hood way back when:
Bikes, international intrigue, family drama, and adventure — I love it already! The Lost Cyclist will be published this summer by Houghton Mifflin (you can pre-order it from Powell’s now). I’ve got a review copy on the way and stay tuned for a possible book signing event with Herlihy in the coming months.