An environmental activist’s travelogue about the 104-day coast-to-coast bike ride that he transformed into a radical experiment in low-impact living.
In April 2013, Greenfield set off on a cross-country two-wheeled adventure that began in San Francisco and would end that August in Vermont. His main goal was to “create near zero waste” while raising funds for nonprofits dedicated to creating a more sustainable world. Before he left, Greenfield vowed to eat only locally grown produce or food from dumpsters, use solar energy to power his computer and cellphone, keep himself clean using natural sources of water or water leaking from faucets or sprinklers, and make do with a small portable toilet. His plan to live cleanly and well also included personal promises to maintain “a positive mindset,” give up swearing, “live 100-percent drug and alcohol free,” and plant “seedbombs full of native wildflowers all along [his] path.” The author chronicled his journey day by day with words and images, many of which appear in the book. He set down observations not only of the many and varied landscapes he traversed, but also of the ways he was able to keep the vows he made before he began his trip. Whether it was turning down opportunities to stay in the homes of people he met along the way in favor of sleeping in his tent or in abandoned structures or not allowing himself to use electricity or running water to bathe or wash his clothes, Greenfield stayed true to his word from start to finish. The author’s journey is admirable and inspiring, but his story, which he pieced together from the online blog he kept as he rode, is more functional than reflective and tends toward redundancy. Each new day is a new episode in a string of similar episodes, with no ongoing personal drama or conflict—aside from the various physical obstacles Greenfield encountered—to render the story more compelling.
Well-intentioned but flawed.