Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

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I Eliminated 99% of Flour Products from My Diet for 18 Months, and Guess What Happened?

Nothing. That’s right: bupkis, nada, niente, zero, zilch. I lost 0 pounds of weight. In fact, I’ve gained a little lately, more from knee pain caused by biking my ass off (metaphorically — see my post coming up Wednesday). But after foregoing all the tasty treats, delicious delights and amazing amuse bouches out there for an entire effing year and a half, I really have nothing to show for it. It’s really quite unfair. Perhaps there are other health markers that are a better gauge, but the point was to reduce simple carbs to virtually nothing and eat whole grains. Of course I wasn’t perfect with it, and still have a major problem with sugar, but it’s no where near enough to make up for all the bread and stuff I used to eat. So, I’m gonna kvetch about this.

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Addicted to Biking (and Sugar) or Just Committed to Goals (and Earning a Reward)?

I’ve been reflecting alot about my third mega-mileage year in a row, since I’m seeming to continue a daily amount of bicycling and walking. 5,143 Miles in 2018: 4,554 Biking + 589 Walking. Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good for A Dude! I haven’t added or subtracted any New Year’s Resolutions, so I’m wondering if it’s still healthy for me. Especially since I’m generally sleep-deprived and tired if not downright exhausted. Also having a regular if not daily or more encounter with chocolately goodness going into my grocery hole. Then I saw a National Geographic article about addiction and this post about exercise addiction from follower A Better Man 21. It’s as good a topic as any so I’m going to address it, hopefully briefly.

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