Monday, 9 August 2010
Book Review : The Lost Cyclist by David V. Herlihy
Well first I'd like to apologize for my lack of blog posting but as it's still hot and humid I've been riding my 1980 Vespa 50s more than my 3 speed recently and because of the hot summer I thought I'd purchase something interesting to read.
A while back I saw that David V. Herlihy had written a book documenting the cycling adventures of Frank Lenz whose round the world attempt was tragically ended while crossing eastern Turkey in 1894 and the cycling exploits of Sachtleben & Allen who became famous globe girdlers. After the solo cyclist Frank Lenz went missing Sachtleben offered his services to go to Eastern Turkey and search for Lenz and to find out what had really happened to him as the American public were closely following his exploits through the well known American magazine " Outing " who had sponsored Lenz's around the world attempt. David V. Herlihy is a fantastic writer and his previous book titled " Bicycle: The History " was very well received and after reading " The Lost Cyclist " I'm sure that it will become just as popular.
One thing I did find annoying was Sachtleben's comment to a fellow German cyclist named Godrich who they meet whilst in Greece. Godrich was still riding the popular high wheel , ordinary bicycle while Allen & Sachtleben were on more modern safety bicycles which were slowly overtaking the ordinary bicycle in popularity. Godrich was a strong rider & had completed a triple century in a day which was a new world record at the time and was immensely fond of his high wheeler and was proud to be a member of the General Union of Velocipedist's. Sachtleben informed Godrich that he didn't care two cents for any kind of union !. But later on after their widely publicized tour was over they were both treated like royalty back in America and every city of decent size threw a great banquet in their honor celebrating their around the world trip. Also the LAW - League of American Wheelmen which they were no doubt members of at some stage in their cycling career treated them rather well. Previously to their celebrated round the would tour " Thomas Stevens " has circled the globe alone on his ordinary bicycle. So it seems to me rather snobbish that they would so easily put down a fellow cyclist who was a member of a cycle union and by all accounts a far stronger rider than themselves. Apart from that one point the entire book is a fantastic read and if you have already read " Thomas Steven's book then you should read this as a follow up to the fantastic adventures of cyclists in the late 1890s .