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Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across Americaby Bruce Weber
Synopses & Reviews
Based on his popular New York Times series, bestselling author Bruce Weber shares the adventures of his solo bicycle ride from coast to coast.
Riding a bicycle across the United States is one of those bucket-list goals that many dream about but few fulfill. During the summer and fall of 2011, at the age of fifty-seven, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for the New York Times, made the trip, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded mile by mile, a vivid and immediate report of the self-powered life on the road.
Now, expanding upon the articles and blog posts that quickly became a must-read adventure story, Weber gives us Life Is a Wheel, a witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention the pleasures of a three-thousand-calorie breakfast.
The story begins on the Oregon coast, with Weber wondering what he's gotten himself into, and ends in triumph on New York City's George Washington Bridge. From Going-to-the-Sun Road in the northern Rockies to the headwaters of the Mississippi and through the cityscapes of Chicago and Pittsburgh, his encounters with people and places provide us with an intimate, two-wheeled perspective of America. And with thousands of miles to travel, Weber considers — when he's not dealing with tractor-trailers, lightning storms, dehydration, headwinds, and loneliness — his past, his family, and the echo that a well-lived life leaves behind.
Part travelogue, part memoir, part romance, part paean to the bicycle as a simple mode of both mobility and self-expression — and part bemused and panicky account of a middle-aged man's attempt to stave off, well, you know — Life Is a Wheel is an elegant and beguiling escape for biking enthusiasts, armchair travelers, and any readers who are older than they were yesterday.
"Reprising a similar trip he took from California to New York City in 1993, in 2011 New York Times obituary writer and author Weber (As They See 'Em) bicycled from Oregon to Manhattan. Weber documented the trip for Times Web site, but here he has expanded on those posts to create a lengthier form that allows him to explore deeper themes while still maintaining the conversational style that makes his writing a breeze to read. While Weber introduces readers to people he met, his trip is more about the internal explorations of a 57-year-old man pushing his body to its limits. Weber presents 'fruitful cogitation' on a myriad of subjects, such as the passing of a friend during the first week of his trip; his deceased parents; his long distance relationship with a woman named Jan; and the general feeling of loneliness that pervades the excursion. Weber never fails to entertain, and his compulsion to always move forward despite the weight of the past is as inspiring as his astounding cycling achievement." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"It's about the bike — to a point. Taking us along on a challenging and deeply personal journey, Weber shares memories, hopes, and emotions as rich and complex as the American landscape he conquers." David V. Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History and Lost Cyclist
"Kerouac claimed that the romance of the American road died with the completion of the interstate system, but Bruce Weber proves him wrong, and on only two wheels. Life is a Wheel is an engaging blend of adventure and autobiography, a courageous journey over the breadth of the country and the distant terrains of the past." Billy Collins
"Cover to cover this book is a great ride. Bruce Weber is an entertaining and absorbing travel companion and in Life Is a Wheel he pulls off a master storyteller's trick. He gives us a very personal journey that resonates on every page as part of the universal journey we're all on. It's great writing and reading." Michael Connelly
"Weber normally spends his days with the stories of the dead — after all, he is an obituary writer for the New York Times. But when he decided finally to cross something major off his bucket list by riding coast to coast across the United State alone on his bicycle, Weber got the chance to do something that made him feel truly alive. This title is his witty travelogue, his reflective road journal, and a vivid testament to the beauty of a journey made on two wheels. Perfect for fans of Billy Bryson's travel writing or books such as Jim Malusa's Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents and Paul Howard's Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide, this title is a cross-country trip every reader can enjoy. VERDICT: Weber's journey is sure to inspire readers to roll their old bikes out of the shed and plan an epic trek of their own." Library Journal
Based on his popular series in the New York Times chronicling his cross-country bicycle trip, bestselling author Bruce Weber shares his adventures from his solo ride across the USA.
Riding a bicycle across the US is one of those bucket-list goals that many dream about but few achieve. Bestselling author and New York Times reporter Bruce Weber made the trip, solo, over the summer and fall of 2011 — at the age of fifty-seven. Expanding upon his popular series published in New York Times, Life Is a Wheel is the witty and inspiring account of his journey, where he extols the pleasures of cycling and reflects on what happened on his adventure, in the world, in the country, and in his life.
The story begins on the Oregon coast with a middle-aged man wondering what he's gotten himself into and ends in triumph on the George Washington Bridge, wondering how soon he might try it again. Part travelogue, part memoir, part paean to the bicycle as a simple and elegant mode of both mobility and self-expression — and part wry and panicky account of a fifty-seven-year-old man's attempt to stave off mortality — Life Is a Wheel is an elegant and entertaining escape for any armchair traveler.
About the Author
Bruce Weber, a reporter for the New York Times, began his career in publishing as a fiction editor at Esquire. He has been on staff at the newspaper since 1986 as an editor, metro reporter, national cultural correspondent, theater columnist and critic, among other things, and has regularly contributed first-person essays and participatory features to the paper. He has written for numerous publications and is the coauthor (with the dancer Savion Glover) of Savion! My Life in Tap and the editor of Look Who's Talking: An Anthology of Voices in the Modern American Short Story.
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