The Lost Cyclist and the Greatest Cyclist

London Cycling Book Club; and Hammersmith Cyclists Film Show

By Linus Rees
Book cover showing 19 century picture of cyclist.

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

Historian and award-winning writer David V. Herlihy will be a guest at the London Cycling Bookclub at their meeting tonight (Wednesday 14 December) upstairs at the King and Queen pub in Foley Street, Fitzrovia, where he will talk about and sign copies of his 2010 book The Lost Cyclist. The Lost Cyclist: The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey is the story of a 24-year-old accountant who sets off in the spring of 1892 from his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a global bicycle trip. Carrying a camera he sends regular reports of his journey back to the states and his sponsor, Outing magazine. But after two years — and many thousands of miles pedalled across the United States, Japan, China, Burma, India and Persia — during his return journey through Europe he vanished. He was presumed murdered in Turkey.

The Lost Cyclist recounts the short but remarkable life of Lenz and the efforts of another American, William L. Sachtleben, who was sent by Outing magazine to unravel the mystery behind Lenz’s death in Turkey.

Author David V. Herlihy is winner of the 2005 Sally Hacker Prize sponsored by the Society for the History of Technology; and winner of the 2004 Award for Excellence in the History of Science sponsored by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, for his previous book Bicycle: The History.

The book club will meet  Wednesday, 14 December 2011, from 8.00pm in the function room at the King and Queen pub, 1 Foley Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6DL

Eddy Merckx Belgian cyclist.

The films concentrate on the career of “The Cannibal”, with expert commentators, including William Fotheringham, author of numerous books on cycle sport including the forthcoming “Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike” discussing his achievements.

Fans of cycling may also be interested in next year’s Hammersmith Cyclists Film show — Cycling Shorts: Salute to Eddy Merckx. London’s cycling film aficionados will return to Riverside Studios to salute Eddy Merckx: the greatest ever racing cyclist. Despite the inevitable controversies around defining ultimate greatness, with the difficulties of comparing riders who had to contend with quite different obstacles to success, there is little doubt about placing Merckx as the all-time number one.

The decider in defining his legendary status is his extraordinary list of victories: Merckx’s palmares is astonishing. He dominated at all branches of road racing: single day Classics, the Grand Tours, both overall and in individual stages, shorter stage races, World Championships and the hour record. He had a remarkably high “hit rate” of victories for each of the very many races he rode, with little possibility of his numbers of victories ever being equalled. Merckx continues to be a respected commentator on cycle racing, with his legacy to cycle sport felt in various ways.

The films concentrate on the career of “The Cannibal”, with expert commentators, including William Fotheringham, author of numerous books on cycle sport including the forthcoming “Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike” discussing his achievements. (Other speakers TBC)

Hammersmith Cyclists Film show at 1.30pm, Sunday 29 January 2012, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9RL. Films screenings include: “The Greatest Cycling Champion” (Jemca, France, 1995, 60 mins, narrated Phil Liggett); “Eddy Merckx in-depth interview with Jimmy McGee” (RTE, Ireland, 1996. 30 mins); “Notebook from the Tour 2010” (Pascoe, 2010, UK, 35 mins.); “Cycle racing films by the Turner Brothers” (G. and J. Turner, UK, 1972, 30 m).

To book see Riverside Studios website.

1 Comment on The Lost Cyclist and the Greatest Cyclist

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