For the past 24 hours, local meteorologists have been a frenzy over the unique weather pattern that was headed in our direction. Part cautionary, part giddy, they speculated micro-bursts, hail, even a tornado. This morning I armed myself with an umbrella and cast a wary eye to the (sunny) sky. Fearing the worst this evening when the sky turned apocalyptic, I tucked into the BPL for an author talk by David Herlihy regarding his latest, The Lost Cyclist.
As Herlihy detailed the timeline of 19th century bicycle enthusiast Frank Lenz and his ill-fated determination to ride around the world, we could hear the rain faintly tapping outside the library’s sturdy facade. Through the ornate window slats of the Abbey room — gorgeous with dark paneling and stunning Sargent murals — I glimpsed flags flapping in the vicious wind. With each photo from Herlihy’s powerpoint, I sank deeper into Lunz’s improbable story, crossing the U.S. before hopping a boat to Hawaii, then Japan, then China. He was repairing flats on tires he had barely seen before (“safety” bikes had just been introduced as an alternative to high-wheels). He carried wheel covers that said something to the effect of “bicycle tourist riding around the world” translated into several different languages.
Around the point when Herlihy explained how Lenz disappeared somewhere in Turkey, the skies brightened. Soon after, I stepped back outside onto sidewalks newly cleansed by rain, and then sun.