The Road Headed West: America Coast to Coast: A Cycling Odyssey by Leon McCarron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For some people, the offer of a job with a regular salary is just what they are looking for. For Leon McCarron though the thought of being stuck behind a desk with no chance of adventure or seeing the world, filled him with dread. As he was in New York, he came up with the idea of cycling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, not for any reason, just for the hell of doing it. Loading up his bike and trailer with much, much more than he needed, he embarks on his 6000 mile journey. A week or so later he was still cycling in New York state, as he hadn’t realised just how vast it was.
Slowly but surely he was building his fitness up but getting around 80 miles a day under his belt. He meets other cyclists as he wends his way across the States, sharing the journey and beginning what were to become lasting friendships. A brief detour into Canada to see Niagara Fall was soured when he returned into America and was detained by a very officious immigration official. They did allow him back after a chastisement about documentation. As he drops into the Midwest he passes mile after mile of cornfields on the almost dead straight roads, the highlight of the day being the zigzags when they correct the roads for the curvature of the earth. All across America so far, he had been given a warm welcome and helped by strangers in all manner of ways. This was to change when he accepted hospitality from a guy in a bar and headed back to his ranch. His mate was there and wasn’t best pleased to see Leon, and after one heart stopping moment he has to escape really quickly. Of all the places to die in the world, he didn’t want it to be Iowa!
Hoping to eek out his journey on a budget of $5 a day, he is fuelled by peanut butter and an absence of common sense. It is an easy and relative unchallenging read, with a certain charm to it. What is does show is that you do not need loads of planning or training to achieve a goal, sometimes you just need to climb on the bike and pedal. This one is a worthy addition to the fold of cycling adventure books.
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