At first glance, Bruce Weber’s Life is a Wheel may seem like a book strictly for cyclists. Upon further investigation, it proves to be a ride through life and all of its highs and lows.
Weber is a wordsmith by trade — an obituary writer for The New York Times — and the way he weaves his story is proof of this.
The book details his second journey across the United States on two wheels — his first was at age 39 — and now at 57, he is off again, with his $8,000 customized rig. Though age definitely plays a role in his reflections, much of the story is driven by the people he meets and their impacts on him.
The main timeline of his bike trip is interwoven with tales of his past and reflections on his work and relationships, all in a conversational, easy to read tone.
It feels like you’re sitting down for coffee with Weber as he regales you with his epic journey.
Weber starts his trip on the West Coast in Oregon and works his way east across the United States, arriving back home in New York in 14 weeks.
“At ground level you measure a state’s actual breadth with your tires, you roll over its topography and live in its weather,” he writes. “Crossing the country by bicycle is to feel these things in the extreme.”
While on the trip, he blogged for The New York Times and Life is a Wheel is a compilation and expansion of those posts in a more flowing narrative.
Whether you are a number cruncher, gear head, adventurer or you just enjoy a good human story, Weber’s memoir is a swift read that is sure to satisfy.
— Marissa Tiel