> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 11 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781907195693
  • Imprint: Mainstream Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

The Lost Cyclist

The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey

Formats & editions

A tragic historical mystery in the spirit of Into the Wild

In the spring of 1892, Frank G. Lenz, a gallant young accountant from a modest German American family, set forth from his unhappy home in Pittsburgh to circle the globe atop a new 'safety' bicycle with inflatable tyres (the forerunner of today's road bike). He brought along a large wooden camera and arranged to send regular reports to his sponsor, Outing magazine, effectively making him a harbinger of the great bicycle boom that was about to explode with stunning social and industrial repercussions. Two years, fourteen thousand miles and many adventures later, after crossing the United States, Japan, China, Burma, India and Persia, just as he was about to enter Europe for the home stretch, Lenz vanished. His presumed murder in Asiatic Turkey jolted the American public and became an international cause célèbre.

The Lost Cyclist recounts, for the first time ever, the short but remarkable life of Lenz and the heroic efforts of another American 'globe girdler', William L. Sachtleben, who was sent by Outing to unravel Lenz's mysterious death in Turkey - all set against the horrifying backdrop of the Hamidian massacres.

  • Pub date: 11 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781907195693
  • Imprint: Mainstream Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the Author

David V. Herlihy

David V. Herlihy is a freelance writer who specialises in bicycle history. His first book, Bicycle, was a critical and commercial success, and received the 2004 Award for Excellence in the History of Science and the 2005 Sally Hacker Prize.

Praise for The Lost Cyclist

“The wealth of detail is overwhelming . . . gives a fascinating snapshot of a forgotten era, enhanced by Lenz's photos of his journey.”

Book of the Week, Independent on Sunday

“This well-researched and stylishly written book puts Lenz back in the public eye as well as offering readers a look at the very early days of modern cycling”


“This should appeal to most lovers of history, as well as to bicycling enthusiasts. Strongly recommended”

Library Journal

“Thoroughly researched . . . grippingly detailed”

New York Times

“Intensely researched”

Cycling Plus

Related titles