A Man Disappeared While Trying To Cycle Around The World, And Experts Are Still Debating His Fate

In late 19th-century Pittsburgh, Frank Lenz is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Armed with little more than a bicycle and a sense of adventure, he plans to circumnavigate the globe, documenting his travels along the way. But before he can reach his journey’s end, he’ll discover just how dangerous the world can be. And people will still be talking about his curious tale well over a century later.

Doomed from the start

In fact, Lenz’s round-the-world trip was doomed from the start. And while he braved many challenges along the way, he ultimately encountered peril that he couldn’t overcome. Somewhere in the war-torn wilds of the Ottoman Empire, he disappeared, never to be seen again. And it sparked a mystery that continues to this day.

Searching for the truth

So what happened to the plucky young cyclist who gambled his life on an adventure and lost? Did he fall victim to foul play, lost and alone thousands of miles from home? Or was there a more romantic conclusion to his tragic story? Although many have searched for the truth, Lenz’s body has never been found.

Early years

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1867 Lenz was the only son of an immigrant family from eastern Germany. Tragically, his father died when he was just a young boy. With his mother, he relocated some 300 miles west to Pittsburgh, where he would soon develop a passion for the emerging sport of cycling.

The penny-farthing

By this point, of course, cycling was far from a new phenomena. In fact, two-wheeled vehicles had been around since at least 1817. But in the 1870s the unique penny-farthing had emerged, delivering what was considered at the time to be a speedy and comfortable ride. And like many young men his age, Lenz was hooked.