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Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America Hardcover – March 18, 2014


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Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America + Biking Across America: My Coast-to-Coast Adventure and the People I Met Along the Way
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451695012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451695014
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1993, at the age of 39, Weber rode from coast to coast on a bicycle. Eighteen years later he decided to repeat the task, and his account of the journey from the Oregon coast to Manhattan is a delightful, insightful saga that combines the genres of travelogue and journal of self-discovery while paying tribute to the joy and value of cycling. Weber readily acknowledges that, at 57, he lacked both the physical and mental stamina he possessed on his first crossing. As he indicates, cycling is hardly the serene activity of romantic lore; it requires intense concentration and an ability to constantly draw upon physical reserves. Yet Weber clearly retained his sharp powers of observation as he describes the changes he saw in the nation, from the ubiquitous use of cell phones to changes in the political climate. What hasn’t changed, thankfully, is Weber’s ability to be awestruck and inspired by the power and beauty of the landscapes he traverses. This is a thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable “road” story that will appeal to both cyclists and the more sedentary. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The popularity of Weber’s New York Times series chronicling his bike trip will translate into great interest in the book version. --Jay Freeman

Review

"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)

"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." (Publisher's Weekly)

“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)

“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)

“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)

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Customer Reviews

Makes you think.
Philip
I enjoyed the life observations the author made on his sojourn.
Bruce
My husband said this was a great read and very well written.
Nancy Wyatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Steven Thomas TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Bruce Weber is an accomplished, pushing 60, professional writer/editor for many nationally syndicated publications. In 2011, at the age of 57, the author set out on the solo adventure of bicycling from Oregon's west coast across the entire northern United States, all the way to NYC's Brooklyn Bridge. This book is his chronicle of that journey. I have no doubt this story will have great appeal to a wide range of readers, most of whom will find the subjects he covers in his writing of interest. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a bit more original philosophy and perspective on the "wheel of life" in his presentation (as the book's title implies) than was actually present. For those interested in the endurance requirements, events and practical aspects encountered along his voyage of discovery, this book will not disappoint.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Brightman on April 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"What is distance, after all, but experience?"

"Life Is A Wheel" by Bruce Weber is a fairly simple book about a man as he rides his (very expensive) bike across the United States.

The book chronicles the trip from Oregon to New York with intermittent advice about distance cycling, personal anecdotes, logistical notes and observations of middle America.

The book is quick and easy to read, in fact at some points it was hard to put down, however I also found it to be devoid of any deep, compelling sense of adventure or drama. (An exception to this was his recollection of a solo ride in Vietnam.)

Reading about Bruce, his life and his motivations, it's easy to root for the the author and I wish him well. To me this book seems more like a series of travel blog posts than a compelling adventure story. In that sense, some portions felt like filler. I think "Life Is A Wheel" would most appeal to people in similar situations to Weber. People who are ready to take stock in their own life accomplishments, people unsure about aging and what the future holds for them.

I do appreciate the honest and open writing style of the book, and at some points it seemed like Weber uses the writing process (and bike riding) as therapy.

"Even when you're far from home, exhausted, coughing, missing your girlfriend, and grinding uphill in the rain, where you are is where you belong. Never wish away time"

My biggest take away from this book is that it inspires me to ride my bike and to write, which is a good thing.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I just love these long trip books, I got hooked with "Travels with Charlie" then "A Walk in the Woods" and "WILD: From Lost to Found..." and others. So, this one was right up my alley. A guy about my age decides to bicycle across America! I can really identify and yes, the writing is both fun and a tad rambling (both like the trip and like "Travels with Charlie" then "A Walk in the Woods").

There are no great adventures here (other than the trip itself) , nothing too hair-raising or exciting, but we meet a good slice of America, not to mention really get to know the author. We travel with Bruce from Oregon to NYC, and it's a fun trip all the way for us readers (even if not always for the author!)

There's a number of metaphors included free, at no charge, ("the present is where you want to be. Never wish away distance. Never wish away time.") but the real deal is in his easy to read writing style and interesting trip.

Try it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Bazell on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Bruce Weber is a marvelous writer who combines a trip on a bike on the back roads of America with an unforgettable journey through his soul -- and ours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The personal background stories were intimate, more than I would want to share. The description of the people the author met on the road and the description of the journey were just enough to maintain interest and also keep the story moving.

The author’s self-examination was probably one of the most interesting aspects of the book to me. I appreciated the truly honest self-assessments. I was also interested in his recognition of changing priorities as he ages. It hit home to me.

I would recommend this book to all people, not just cyclists. I think many others would enjoy it as well. From a non-cyclist point of view, the human interest perspective was compelling.

I will be looking for other works by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Catdaddy on April 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful tale. Webber is a great story teller, and his second bicycle trip across the U.S. provides a perfect platform. A mix of looking back at life, while at the same time looking forward, from a bicycle seat, to what may unfold next; both on the road, and in his personal life.

This is a great book. It's hard to put down, and even harder not to think of after reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. King on April 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully written and descriptive. It makes me want to things: to ride across the country, and to have Bruce write my obituary. Nicely done sir.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NJgreyhead on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A 57 year-old NY Times writer's account of his ride across the US is a worthwhile read. Includes interesting flashbacks to his ride in Vietnam 20 years after the fall of Saigon, and his view of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in NOLA. Not just about the bike.
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