While is was laid up for about a month with a nerve damaged elbow I decided that if I couldn’t get out and ride then I would get some books from the library and read others experiences on two wheels.
The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy is a fascinating book which tells the story about the ill fated round the world cycling adventure made by Frank Lenz;
In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He finally got his chance by recasting himself as a champion of the downsized “safety-bicycle” with inflatable tires, the forerunner of the modern road bike that was about to become wildly popular. In the spring of 1892 he quit his accounting job and gamely set out west to cover twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent forOuting magazine. Two years later, after having survived countless near disasters and unimaginable hardships, he approached Europe for the final leg.
He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. Bringing to light a wealth of information, Herlihy’s gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. This untold story culminates with Sachtleben’s heroic effort to bring Lenz’s accused murderers to justice, even as troubled Turkey teetered on the edge of collapse.
It’s a great book which I highly recommend. The journeys these men undertook, largely on Penny Farthings or High Riders as they are also known, was incredible. Then came ‘The Safety Bike’, which firstly had solid rubber tyres as pneumatic tyres were not considered reliable.
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne is another good read, well written with some great observations of our world;
12 Months in the Saddle
By John Deering and Phil Ashley
A cycling book by no other, this account is written and photographed by two committed amateurs who lived out their dream year—a dozen rides that encapsulate the spirit of cycling. Some of the rides, such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, are classic races in the pro cycling season. Others, such as the ascent of Mount Ventoux, are part of the folklore of the Tour de France, while others are home-grown routes, dreamed up and tackled because they are fun on a truly epic scale. Lively personal text describes the nature of each route and the landscape and people encountered along the way. It looks at the inspiration for each location in the first place, and the background history and culture of each ride. With unique breath-taking photography and lively text that conveys exactly how it feels to be by turns frozen, baked, lost, exhausted but utterly exhilarated, and inspired, this is a book that will resonate with any aspiring road rat.
All these books were quite different but had the same thing in common for me. That in all these rides or journeys or adventures much of it is mind over matter. In my own experience I find that not over thinking a ride is key for doing one and this is something that is going important for me this year as I recover and get back into longer rides.