Over the Hills:: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle

David Lamb, Author Crown Publishers $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8129-2579-1
As he cycled from his home in Virginia to Santa Monica, Calif., the 54-year-old author, a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, discerned a corollary between writing and his attempt to complete this feat: in both you are intimidated at the start, eventually a rhythm sets in, you perform every day and, in due course, you get there. And it's the getting there, the focus on reaching the destination, that preoccupies Lamb here-which, given his writing skills but neglected powers of observation, ultimately makes his account tedious. We learn about his developing stamina, daily progress, road and weather conditions, nightly chores of laundry, servicing his bike, updating his journal and writing freelance pieces, but we get little of the look or feel of the townscape. Lamb eschews wandering, engages in few conversations despite his periods of loneliness. He finds the heartland to be inherently polite, although people are troubled about ""meanness in the land.'' As a test of self, the trip-two months and 3012 miles-was a superb success. As a book. it's not. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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