Readin’ ’bout Ridin’


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.

Frank Lenz.

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.

Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne is another good read, well written with some great observations of our world;

Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bicycle as his principal means of transportation in New York City. A few years later he discovered folding bikes, and starting taking them with him on music tour overseas, and experienced a sense of liberation as he pedalled around many of the world’s principal cities. The point of view from his bike seat has given Byrne a panoramic window on urban life over the last thirty years as he has cycled round cities such as London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Manila, New York, and San Francisco. From music and the visual arts, to globalisation, politics, the nature of creative work, fashion and art, this book gives the reader an incredible insight into what Byrne is seeing and thinking as he pedals around these cities. Filled with intimate photographs, incredible musical stories and a powerful ecological message, this is a enchanting celebration of bike riding – of the rewards of seeing the world at bike level.

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.





About Martin's Bicycle Musings.

Husband, Dad, follower of The Way, Keeper of the peace and taking mid-life by the throat
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