An interesting thing arrived in the mail today: "The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings," recently released by Jim Joyce of the Bike Exchange Web site. It's a whole book dedicated to bicycle essays and cartoons, written by various people who contributed to the Web site over the years. One of those essays happens to be mine.
It's been a trip back in time reading it again, because I always write so autobiographically. This is an essay I wrote in early 2004 - nearly four years ago - when I lived in a $300-a-month studio apartment in Tooele, Utah - an apartment that didn't even have a working refrigerator - and I spent my days dreaming about ways to support myself by becoming a freelance writer/graphic designer. I also spent my days riding over and around the Oquirrh Mountains on my first road bike, because my Trek 6500 was out of commission and wasn't very interested in mountain bikes at the time anyway. The essay starts out, "I have always thought of myself as a cycle 'tourist,' someone who uses a bicycle as a means of travel, escape and relaxation."
There's nothing in the essay about snow, or Alaska, or the virtues of fat tires. It's funny to realize how much I've changed since my early incarnations as a cyclist ... and also how much I've stayed the same. Because even though I don't travel much any more, and even though I can only escape as far as 40.4 miles from my home, and even though I can't even remember what relaxing on a bicycle is like, I still remain a "tourist." It's just that, as a tourist, I see the world very differently now.
Anyway, it was fun to see it published after all these years. I chopped off the whole introduction and posted it on my blog more than a year ago - "Of Dogs and Cyclists" - mostly because I liked the tone and thought I'd never see print. It's one of the few scrapes at subtle humor I've ever attempted (I really can't write humor. It's truly a shame.) Now it's in a book. Cool!
I read through quite a bit of the rest of the book at the gym today. It's a light read and a lot of fun. It's peppered with cartoons, a few of which made me laugh out loud. I already signed my life away to appear in this book and don't monetarily benefit from its sales, but I still recommend it as a worthwhile purchase. With Christmas approaching and stockings waiting for quirky little gifts, this book would make a good present for all of the cyclists on your list. We cyclists aren't too picky. We like just about anything and everything about bicycles, and this book definitely fits that description. You can order it here.