In Friday’s blog: Monday, Marcy and I went to hear author/historian David Herlihy talk about his new book, “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance” at Quail Ridge Books & Music. His talk inspired a bike journey of my own. In today’s blog: That journey.
My wife leaned over and whispered, “You’re thinking about something.”
It was hard not to. (And drat the telltale look that signals when thought is finally occurring.) It was Monday evening and we were among 30 or so others listening to author David Herlihy recount the adventures of cycling explorer Frank Lenz. Lenz was a Pittsburgh bookkeeper who became caught up in the early stages of a cycling boom that swept the country in the late 1800s. He started pedaling a “high wheeler,” participating in races on dirt (usually mud) roads and tracks that might draw 20 competitors and thousands of fans. Begrudgingly, he switched to a “safety bicycle” — the prototype for the modern bike — when that style began to curry favor. In the meantime, he was honing his skills as a photographer, and in 1892 convinced Outing magazine to back an ill-fated trip around the world. That trip is the basis for Herlihy’s “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance,” and constituted the bulk of his talk and slideshow Monday at Quail Ridge Books & Music.