In "The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and his Mysterious Disappearance," David Herlihy retraces the journey of Frank Lenz, a 19th century cyclist who set out in 1892 to cycle around the world . A few years later, he disappeared while crossing Turkey, which was becoming increasingly restive during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. A friend and fellow cyclist, William Sachtleben, set out to find out what happened to him. He eventually determined that Lenz had been killed by Kurdish rebels and attempted to bring the killers to justice. Herlihy's fascinating account is a combination of travelogue and murder investigation.
Jeff Mapes focuses on the more mundane use of the bicycle as a means for getting around town. In "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities," Mapes provides a detailed look at several cities where transportation policies are being redefined to accommodate cyclists, including Amsterdam, New York, Portland, Ore., and even Davis, Calif. The author argues that the bicycle has an important role to play in lessening the effects of climate change, reducing our dependence on oil, relieving traffic congestion, and promoting healthier lifestyles.