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Life Is a Wheel

Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist



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About The Book

Life Is a Wheel chronicles the cross-country bicycle trip Bruce Weber made at the age of fifty-seven, an “entertaining travel story filled with insightful thoughts about life, family, and aging” (The Associated Press).

During the summer and fall of 2011, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for The New York Times, bicycled across the country, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded. Life Is a Wheel is the 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 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—and part bemused and panicky account of a middle-aged man’s attempt to stave off, well, you know—Life Is a Wheel is “a book for cyclists, and for anyone who has ever dreamed of such transcontinental travels. But it also should prove enlightening, soul-stirring, even, to those who don’t care a whit about bikes but who care about the way people connect” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

About The Author

Photograph by Marcus Yam

Bruce Weber, a reporter for The New York Times, began his career in publishing as a fiction editor at Esquire. He has written for numerous publications and is the author of the New York Times bestseller As They See ’Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires, coauthor (with 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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 17, 2015)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451695021

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Raves and Reviews

“Enlightening, soul-stirring, even, to those who don't care a whit about bikes but who care about the way people connect - strangers, friends, parents and children, lovers.”

– Philadelphia Inquirer

“[Weber] manages to be both expressive and enigmatic, inclusive and solitary — a rider in the world, coasting through the landscape, sometimes participating, always observing.”

– New York Times

“Delightful... any reader looking for a well-written and entertaining travel story filled with insightful thoughts about life, family and aging will not be disappointed.”

– The Associated Press

“Riding a bike across the country is hard work... focusing on the beauty of the country he passed through…the kindness of the people he met, and his own musings on life, love, and death... Readers will enjoy going there with him.”

– The Boston Globe

"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's trip – and his thoughts – are distilled into a read that is both entertaining and thoughtful.”

– Christian Science Monitor, 10 Best Books of March

“Weber’s memoir has an air to it that reminds me of Richard Ford’s novel “The Sportswriter”… Looking back, looking forward, making sense of what we face now. Or as he says as he pedals a stationary bike back in his gym after his trip, ‘the present is where you want to be. Never wish away distance. Never wish away time.’”

– The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"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

“Weber’s pedalogue is a one-word case study of highs and lows: Gulp. Damn. Yikes! So... Whew! Ommmmmm. Arrrrgh. Ha! Sigh. Cool! Yikes! Arrgh. Whoa!”

– The Charlotte Observer

“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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