- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (March 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555914616
- ISBN-13: 978-1555914615
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,951,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Mile at a Time: Cycling through Loss to Renewal Paperback – March 2, 2004
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
This book tells the story of a 13,784-mile bicycle journey through thirty-four states. It is based on personal observations and facts recorded in ninety-four hours of taping, depicted in 2,500 photos, jotted in a notebook, and learned from research in libraries and other sources along the way and after I returned home. But did they accurately describe America and its people? Probably not. I am skeptical of politicians or tourists who go abroad for a few weeks, then return to describe a vast country and its people. They cant do it and neither can I.
What I can do is describe what I saw, heard, or otherwise discovered while biking around the perimeter of the United States. I might have encountered vastly different scenes and people had I traveled by auto or cycled on different roads. Which story would hold the truth about America and its people?
As a cyclist I experienced landscapes and people more intimately than if I had been isolated by two tons of glass and steel, comforted by heater or air conditioner, and distracted by radio or cell phone while hurtling along at seventy-five miles per hour. Weather influenced my descriptions more when riding a bicycle. On days bookended by gorgeous sunrises and spectacular sunsets, I was sometimes so stimulated by sights, sounds, and smells that my journaling became euphoric. When it was stifling hot, miserably humid, or cold, wet, and windy, my mood-driven outlook might plummet with my physical comfort.
Seeing America from the seat of a bicycle, however, offered benefits far outweighing disadvantages. I traveled slowly, stopped often, and frequently followed secondary roads. In campgrounds I met new friends who strolled over to inspect my bicycle and tent or to share a campfire and stories. At other times I spent a night, a weekend, or more, with impulsive folks attracted by my heavily loaded and travel-worn bicycle. A multitude of opportunities to learn the country and meet a rich diversity of people resulted from these chance encounters.
I purchased the bicycle and all equipment, and paid for film, tapes, and all other expenses; I was not financially obligated to anyone. No sponsor influenced where I rode or what I wrote. I asked no favors but received many from unbelievably generous strangers who received only my gratitude in return.
All events happened. All places exist. All names are of real people. In a few instances, when no good would be served and people might be harmed, I recorded what they did or said without mentioning their names.
This account, as honest as I can tell it, is about what I discovered in these incredibly diverse United States of America. I described photos, events, and conversations promptly on tape. This helped greatly to preserve accuracy over the long interval between their occurrence and writing this book.
Large cities often received scant attention as I competed with heavy traffic on narrow streets; I was more concerned with survival than getting acquainted. But I must admit to a preference for natural landscapes, other rural areas, and small towns. Those are the places I love most, know best, and wrote more about. Mostly, though, this is a story about people and relationships.
I began this solo journey in search of healing and returned home rich in new friendships, renewed faith, and improved physical and emotional health. At all four corners of the United States and along the paths connecting them, the kindness, concern, and warmth for a stranger were overwhelming. The hugeness of the American spirit touched me daily and I am the better for it.
Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately Dwight plays his cards close to his chest and never really clearly reveals how, when or where he overcame the death of his wife, having been previously battered by the prior accidental deaths of two teenage sons, which losses he seemed to have never completely dealt with until possibly the bicycle trip. We really don't know how Dwight cycled through loss to renewal, although it is clear that he did. Hence, the reader feels cheated by the subtitle. Dwight never admits to nor reveals any kind of epiphany, healing moment or realization of healing. You will not learn how Dwight healed by reading this book. One also wonders why his new love, Elizabeth, never fully flowered, when obviously there was considerable mutual attraction and regard. Elizabeth sort of appears as part of the renewal without much explanation and fades away with a similar lack of explanation. Nor is Elizabeth's part in the renewal described or even explored. It's like your child telling you half the story and you both know it.
A nice book on bicycling, an anecdotal and idosyncratic description of a very small part of American society (when he described my hometown, his description hardly captured who we are), and a nondisclosure or nonstory of a man's travel from loss to renewal.
Lynnita Mattock, author of Abductee