Thursday, February 09, 2006

Heft on Wheels

The world stopped spinning for a day so I could read Mike Magnuson's tell-all story of redemption cover to cover. The man gets it right. Outwardly the book is about how Mike went from obscene to lean with nothing more than his road bike* and a fanatical love of being on it.

A lot happens along the way, and this is no feel good self-help book, or maybe it is?

Certain moments in the book gave me shivers.

A good man dies and is honored in a rolling memorial.

Our hero gets hit by a truck.

A self-proclaimed hardcore party guy gives up the booze, the smokes, and the late-night blather that goes with it. Make no mistake about it, Mike Magnuson was running for his life. Much has been said in reviews, and by Mike himself, that his methods are not to be followed by anyone, and he took enormous risks by getting on a bike at 255 lbs. I'm here to tell you that is a bunch of bull. What about the risk if not getting on the bike? For this guy, it couldn't have happened any other way.

The health thing, the redemption thing, that's all great and good for Mike. Why you might enjoy this book though, is because it is a candid, blood and guts, love story about cycling. If bicycles could talk, his would probably take out a restraining order against him. It is when Mike talks about the pain, the grinding, the clicking and ka-chunking, and the rising up from the saddle to surge into battle that this book moves me.

While climbing Mt. Mitchell, NC in a cold, foggy rain, Mike passes another rider and says, "Man, this is torture". The other rider (who is getting passed here!) responds, "Savor it, this is as good as it gets". I know exactly what he means.

*Mike lives in Carbondale, Illinois and there are mountain bike trails there. I guess nobody's perfect.


S'quatch is behind this reading effort. He is working his way through every published fiction and non-fiction account of cycling available on the planet. The last one he passed my way was so bad I'm still washing my hands to get the stink off. I would tell you the title but the author seems to monitor the internet and argue with his detractors, conduct most unbecoming in a writer. As good ones come along, you can count on me to give you the low-down and a brief review.

If you have enjoyed a book in this genre, please let us know. We will run it up the old flag pole and see what happens.


1 comment:

sasquatch said...

Nice review. Anything I might have to say about this book would eventually get corny, because (here we go),it did worm its way in there and lodge in my chest. It's about what I'm running from on the bike and about what I'm running to. And it's all the better that it's told by a madman.