Bruce Weber is currently an obituary writer for the New York Times, a best selling author, and an avid bicyclist. Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America is a memoir wrapped around, in, and through his second solo bicycle trek across the United States at the age of fifty-seven. Out of the four books I have read about cyclist riding cross country this is by far the most introspective. Some readers might not enjoy the diversions where he examines his personal life, but those diversions seem to add heft, and context to the saga. Kind of a peak under the hood. As a matter of fact, it was something I found lacking in some of the other books which did not go too far into the personal circumstances that led them to make such an effort.
After reading four books in this genre I have some basic observations to make. Most people that take the time to ride across the United States seem to enjoy the social aspect of the effort. This is even true for those who ride solo. They have significant encounters with people who offer them advice about where to stay, eat, or what roads to take (good and bad but mostly good it seems). Many arrange meetings with friends, or family members who come out to visit them for a day or so on their trip. Perfect strangers offer them room and board, and they take them up on it. They are not necessarily superior athletes. And, they all seem to have at least one close call with drivers who resent their presence, and encounter dangerous conditions where under heavy traffic, they find themselves riding on a rode, or bridge, with no shoulder. They took days off. Sometimes two. My last observation is that riding cross country, from one coast to the other, is well within the wherewithal of the average person. If my health holds up, and I can find the time I want to do it.
How long does it take? According to AdventurePossible.com most people try for 5-6 hours per day, and cover about 70 miles per day. Times listed for the trip, which varies by route and other factors, listed on the site ranged from 62 to 80. My own estimate is that time in the saddle would be from 70 to 90 days. According to the Adventure Cycling Network they have 30 routes mapped out ranging from 400 miles for just under a week, the Atlantic Coast at 2615 miles, and across the United States at about 4230 miles.
If you are contemplating suchh a trip AdventurePossible.com says that most people try for 5-6 hours per day, and cover about 70 miles per day. Times listed for the trip, which varies by route and other factors, listed on the site ranged from 62 to 80. My own estimate is that time in the saddle would be from 70 to 90 days. According to the Adventure Cycling Network they have 30 routes mapped out ranging from 400 miles for just under a week, the Atlantic Coast at 2615 miles, and across the United States at about 4230 miles. a long bike trip, or just want a little inspiration or a good read, this is a book I would recommend. I would also like to take a moment to remind readers that I recommend any book I review. If I did not like the book, and get something significant out of it, I don’t write about it.
So, are you interested? I recommend AdventurePossible.com as a must read. They have a lot of good, practical, advice. Also, go to your local library to find books about people who have done it, as well as online for the blogs and web sites of people who are doing it now – even as we speak.