sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Thursday, January 13, 2011

book report

"He rides with a dash and daring that can almost be called recklessness."  So marveled the Bulletin's  sports columnist, describing Pittsburgh's newest wheelman, a nineteen-year-old prodigy named Frank George Lenz.  Perched atop a massive, spidery wheel measuring fifty-six inches in diameter, the precocious Lenz, the reporter noted, "surmonts curbstones and dashes over objects with an ease and abandon that calls forth admiration from even old and experienced riders."
This is our introduction to Frank Lenz, paragraph one of The Lost Cyclist by David V. Herlihy.
 For some reason this feels like I'm in grade school giving my book report.
Ohh, the pressure. 
 This little gem is about a cyclist that disappeared crossing into Turkey while trying to cycle around the world.  IN THE 1890'S.  BY HIMSELF. 
Close your eyes and imagine this doing this.  Most of the world population hadn't even seen a bicycle in person.  Ya think it's going to be easy to bum a tube, or a couple of spokes!  Yeah, good luck with that.  And I'm pretty sure my man wasn't sponsored by Clif Bar.
Badass, crazy sombitch, adventurer, dumbshit--pick your label--but you have to admit this dude was the definition of burly.  Most of his early years of riding was spent on hard rubber tires.  Luckily pneumatic tires(the ones that take air) came into vogue before he left for his trip. 
If you like bikes or just a good adventure read, I'm pretty sure you will enjoy this book.  There are points where I wish there was more of Lenz's adventure and a little less back-story on Sachtleben(the guy who was sent to search for Lenz).  But I guess the premise was more about the mysterious disappearence.
Nevertheless,  I dig this read!  It kept me rapt for many an evening. 
Thanks to my lovely other half for gifting me this book!

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