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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Seattle
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    Book Review; Heft on Wheels

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    Heft on wheels by Mike Magnuson
    "how to do a 180"

    Mike Magnuson was a heavy drinking, fat smoker. He was a college professor and hung out with his students at night drinking into oblivion and eating garbage. He decided to turn his life around and started riding a bike. In true male fashion, he decided he had to be the best of the best and managed to quit smoking, drinking, and lose weight; and in the process lost his old friends, made new friends and became a really strong lean rider.(there are a few pictures in the book)
    He mentions his family here and there in the book (if i was his wife i would have killed him) and it is very interesting to see them through his eyes..

    His writing style is very upbeat and the book is hard to put down. there's a sense of foreboding all the way through the book.
    he's a local hero; while looking up the Bridge to Bridge 100; one of his early goals, I noticed that his name was mentioned. This guy is a lot of hyperbole, but I personally know some bicyclists like him and it was a very interesting look inside of his head. Good book, I recommend it to good riders and people who are struggling with the balance of doing what's good for you and doing what you perceive to be fun.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,139
    I second it Mimi. I bought it for myself for Christmas last year
    Dar
    _____________________________________________
    “Minds are like parachutes...they only function when they are open. - Thomas Dewar"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
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    5,958
    Yeah, I agree - I thought it was a very entertaining and fun read. Reminded me a little bit of someone I know.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Posts
    502
    Thanks for the review. I've seen this one on the bookshelves a few times but never got around to reading it. Perhaps soon!
    2007 Trek 5000
    2009 Jamis Coda
    1972 Schwinn Suburban

    "I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood."
    Susan B. Anthony, 1896

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
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    514
    I first read Magnuson's article on "how to lose 70 pounds... the hard way" in Bicycling magazine back in the summer of '02, shortly after I got serious about cycling. Since then, he's done several other articles about his biking adventures in various places, some of which are expanded on in Heft on Wheels.

    Magnuson teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and uses his writing as a form of catharsis in changing and evolving in his new, fitness-oriented lifestyle. Therefore, Heft on Wheels is just as much about obsessive/compulsive behavior as it is about using cycling to create a healthier human. It didn't hurt that I'm a bit of a clydesdale myself, but it was a bit inspiring to see what this guy was able to muster the mental discipline to do. And I especially enjoyed his description of the cycling community in Carbondale. Favorite character would have to be Saki, the local bike shop operator, and his little philosophies... "Ride within yourself, and you'll always finish with the pack," and his mantra, "Ride together."

    I liked the book immensely, and re-read it from time to time. Based on its viewpoint, it's probably much more appealing to guys, but the ladies can get a lot of good from it as well.

    Tom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    186
    Thanks for posting this. I'm recuperating from a minor surgery, and need something to read.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
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    I read this in the airport last week, I loved it. I felt inspired to write, and to race. (It is unlikely I'll do either but I felt a little inspired.)

    I feel intimidated about racing because it doesn't sound like something you just jump in to middle aged, it's for young people or people who have done it all their lives, right? But this guy started doing it at 250 pounds age 39. So I'm way ahead of him in pounds and years. Just need a racing bike...

    My favorite cycling author is the Metal Cowboy, Joe Kurmaskie. His latest book, Momentum is Your Friend, is about his trip across America with his 5 and 7 yr old sons. This summer, he rode across Canada with the whole family--wife & sons including the baby.

    Lance's books aren't bad either (It's Not About the Bike, and Every Second Counts). He had help writing it, and the main thing is you can't win the Tour de France 7 times without having some stories worth telling, even if you're not the greatest writer in the world.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    Rhode Island
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    I just finished this. It was very inspiring!
    I can do five more miles.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    2,059
    Quote Originally Posted by PscyclePath View Post
    Based on its viewpoint, it's probably much more appealing to guys
    I don't understand this kind of generalized stereotyping, or why it needed to pop up in this discussion.

    My .02 about the book is that it was really good. Magnuson has a sharp sense of humor, and writes in a way that I find extremely appealing. The book is often funny, often poignant, and often inspiring. Almost everyone I've talked to who have read it, men and women, cyclists and noncyclists, have really enjoyed it. It is one I come back to from time to time.
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  10. #10
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    Apr 2007
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    Limbo
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    "the ladies" have a wide variety of tastes.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
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    No but wait.
    I did note that he rarely, if ever, with few exceptions, mentions women who also participated on his group and organized rides. It was always "I passed this guy" or "this guy passed me." I think as I recall the only women who make appearances in his book are early on: the woman with the big car... later on: the woman in the spin class, and his wife, or "guys wives or girlfriends standing around holding water bottles" at the beginning of the bridge to bridge ride.

    It's a guy book.
    It's written in a guy-friendly way.
    A lot of the issues - particularly the way men gain and lose weight, are guy specific, because he is a guy.
    Nothing wrong with that. But it's definitely noticeable. At least to me.
    I can do five more miles.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
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    8,548
    valid point Indigo; something we come across a lot. That's why I'm so looking forward to the book I just ordered from Amazon.ca,

    Llamas And Empanadas
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2007
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    Limbo
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    That just happens to be the world he lives in, not the world we live in. Or for that matter a world I've ever witnessed in cycling outside of pro racing. With that in mind it doesn't preclude any appreciation of the basic message of the book. We still read bicycling magazine (ok, so that's by default) and I even read Men's Health on occasion.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

 

 

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