Literary Distillation: Notes On Bruce Weber’s “Life Is A Wheel”



Among the many lessons offered in Bruce Weber’s Life Is A Wheel, a flowing and meditative memoir about bicycling across the United States, are two delightful insights about the nature of thinking and progress. Riding all those miles each day, Weber has lots of time and space to think his thoughts (and then write about them in the evenings afterwards). Yet his rides are filled with the minutiae of attending to his body, his bike, and the road:

“People often ask me what I think about on a long bike ride, as if all I have to do while tootling along is to meditate on grand themes, and as if part of the challenge is filling empty hours with fruitful cogitation. I tell them I think about the bike ride” (24).

And of course, with each revolution of the bike’s wheels, with each mile of the ride covered, Weber achieves real–tangible, measurable–progress. And herein lies a second lesson:

“When you move forward, even slowly, things change; when you stand still, they don’t” (109).