Some of you may remember when David Herlihy was in town promoting his book, “Bicycle, The History” at the Seattle Bicycle Expo several years ago. Alongside beautiful reproductions, “Bicycle” offers an authoritative account of how the bicycle developed and influenced culture over two centuries.
The book opens:
Think back to your first cycling experience, the moment you wobbled beyond the clutches of an anxious parent, without recourse to training wheels. Chances are, it rates as a highlight of childhood — your first real taste of freedom and even pride in ownership. It was your bike — and you were free to go where ever your spinning feet could take you, or so it seemed.
Mr. Herlihy is back in Seattle this month, with “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance.” This is the story of Frank Lenz, who transformed that taste of freedom into a cyclist’s dream job come true: covering twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent for Outing magazine.
That was back in 1892. Lenz rolled out from Pittsburgh (my hometown!) and traveled the world primarily by bike for two years before disappearing in Turkey. The book also tells the story of fellow early adopters of international bicycle travel, Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben, who set out to learn what happened to Lenz.
What a treat that Mr. Herlihy will be in Seattle, sharing a digital slideshow of photographs Lenz took before his world tour — on an old-fashioned “high-wheeler” no less — and during his travels across the United States, Japan, China, Burma, India and Persia. Maybe there will be a shot or two taken when Lenz spent a month in the Pacific Northwest.
David Herlihy reads from “The Lost Cyclist”
Seattle Central Library
Tuesday, July 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m.