I finished Heft on Wheels in the same place I began it, the good ole Long Island Fail Road on the commute home last night. Not without its flaws, I found Heft on Wheels lived up to its promise on the fly leaf of the dust cover, "Filled with triumph, heartbreak and hilarity, Heft on Wheels is an unforgettable book about getting from one place to another, in more ways than one."
The book is a multileveled allegory of a man's journey from one obsession to another, in which the author, Mike Magnuson, moves from a self destructive obsession with booze and partying into an obsession with coming just shy of killing himself repeatedly on his bicycle. The near misses of his later obsession leave him far healthier and far more positive than the former, a fact that I am certain both he and his family appreciate!
There is a great deal more going on in the book than the simple journey Mike makes from overweight out of shape bar fly to trim, fit, bike junkie. There is his growth from child to adult (albeit with childlike tendencies) and a tremendous examination of obsessive compulsive disorder. The allegory of getting hit by a truck works literally, and figuratively on at least four levels, but you must read the book to find out about that!
OK what the book is NOT! It is NOT a training manual! Mike does virtually everything wrong in getting himself ready for his challenges, and he readily admits it. It is only after getting hit by the truck that he finally, really, comes to terms with himself and his training, almost!
A fun read, about a 4 round trip commute's worth from Baldwin to New York, with no delays, maybe three with! Mike does engage in some over the top self deprecation, and after a while you may be inclined to mutter under your breath, OK so I know you're in recovery, but if you look at the book in the context of its time frame within Mike's life, had this thought not been foremost in his mind, he might not have made it. So, we cut him the slack!
Better read from the perspective of being beyond the 40 year mark, the prose strikes a chord with any mature adult who keeps their skeletons tightly locked away, and many of his inner thoughts on the bike and off are thoughts which have been shared by the "mature reader" (read as old people, youngsters!). I don't think anyone under the age of 40 will really get it, but they will still find the book valuable if they ride bikes on the road!
I fully enjoyed the book! Thanks Mike!