A debut memoir examines self-discovery and marriage—through a bicycle trek around the world.
The problem that opens Rosen’s book was that while she still loved her husband, Mike, she found that she was no longer “in love” with him. “We had become acquaintances instead of lovers,” she admits of their marriage. The two met early in life—at age 18—and were on the brink of divorce when the outdoorsy author proposed a globe-trotting expedition on bikes to rekindle their struggling relationship. After 11 years together, they embarked on an ambitious cycling trip that took them from the Mojave Desert to New Zealand and Tibet. After renting their Winnipeg home, getting the appropriate shots, spending hours researching bikes and racks, and—finally—quitting their jobs, they began their journey, starting in the “golden prairie of Manitoba.” Initially, the couple’s strained relationship took center stage. Where Rosen was daring and committed to outdoor pursuits, Mike was staid and generally more interested in watching television. At first, the pair’s “bike-fixing skills” were rather limited: “But we could both now patch a tube and lube our chains. The rest, like our relationship, we figured we would learn as we travelled.” The trip became a metaphor for their relationship and a chance for the author to pursue a “new way of life” while “focusing on being happy in the moment.” Along the way, they sampled local customs (such as a high school football game in Overton, Nevada) and suffered dog attacks and flat tires. Rosen’s work is satisfying both as an intriguing memoir and vivid travelogue. In Colorado, the couple skinny-dipped in a hot springs. And in Vietnam, they visited the site of the My Lai Massacre: “We knelt at gravesites beneath the Bodhi trees in the empty village.” The author offers thoughtful descriptions of local scenery—in Ouray, Colorado, “the wind kissed the tops of white-barked aspens”—and heartfelt discussions of interpersonal dramas. At more than 300 pages, the book is probably longer than it needs to be, but Rosen and her husband make for enjoyable company throughout.
A heartfelt, engaging account of how an adventurous bike trip rejuvenated a relationship.