A father and son attempt the bike ride of their lives in this inspirational novel.
Alex Peterson is like most 11-year-old boys—he just wants to be included, to hang out with his friends, and be like his brother, a great baseball player. But his disability, a leg injury from a tree-climbing accident, holds him back from the latter, so he mostly stays at home and composes music. At school, he deals with bullies and mockery all day long. One day, he learns about the STP, a 200-mile, single-day bike ride that takes riders from Seattle to Portland, Oregon. He quickly becomes obsessed with the idea of completing the race, despite the obstacles he faces. Alex’s father, Rob, was once a competitive cyclist, but gave up on it long ago. Fortunately, his son’s passion for the sport slowly revitalizes his interest, and the two decide to make the journey together. However, getting Alex up to speed for such a race proves to be difficult, and he and Rob nearly succumb to a series of trials along the way. Alex won’t quit, though, because he’s determined to accomplish something that “not a whole lot of other people in the world have ever done.” Blunt’s (Passport, 2008) background as a cyclist is unsurprising, because he writes about riding in a way that shows his clear love for the sport. More importantly, though, he paints Alex as a fully fleshed-out character—a person in pain with hopes and dreams, as well as the perseverance to fulfill them. Rob’s well-developed back story and Alex’s drive combine to make a powerful cocktail, and it’s wonderful to watch the father-son duo reach new heights together. Overall, it’s an inspiring story that spans generations.
An uplifting, freewheeling ode to the bond between a parent and child.