Pedaling on Purpose by Ken Rogers and Steve Anderson (2008. Inspirit. ISBN 978-1-60461-634-7)
Another “read” loaned to me by my friend, Ronaldo. It’s actually not his book but one he borrowed from mutual friends. The book is personally signed to those folks so I’ll need to get it back to Ronaldo so he can return it.
The authors, Rogers and Anderson, decided, really on a whim, to support the Minnesota chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation (an organization that funds wishes for severely ill children) by bicycling into (not through) all 48 contiguous states of these United States of America. The authors pedaled through rain, snow, sleet, heat, cold, bugs, dogs, and assorted other challenges on the way to completing a trip that exceeded 10,000 miles. Rogers had zero previous long distance biking experience and purchased the Trek he rode throughout the arduous journey only weeks before the pair departed the Twin Cities. Anderson had some experience in long-distance biking but nothing remotely close to what the duo engaged in during this ride.
Though not especially well written in a literary sense, this book has a lot going for it, from the audacious decision by both men to quit their jobs and bike around the nation; to their persistent banter and less-than-helpful minor squabbles; to episodic kindnesses the pair received from complete strangers in terms of lodging, food, donations, and support. I enjoyed this tale immensely and, though I was a bit put off by the use of bold type to differentiate Anderson’s contributions to the book (it was mildly distracting), I got over that criticism to read on. It was especially helpful to see more photos chronicling this incredible ride towards the end of the story: I wish there’d been more snapshots taken in the beginning, especially the portions involving the American West where the riders were challenged by wide open spaces, mountains, and arid deserts.
Throughout the “read” the authors, Rogers in particular, share their Christian faith with their audience and explained how, in some instances, faith communities opened their arms to receive and house the pair, and, at least on one occasion (when a Catholic priest slammed the door to the rectory in their faces) didn’t. The inclusion of religion in the story made sense given the toil and hardship and sheer determination of will that went into completing the trip so that money could be raised to make children’s dreams, if only for a moment, come true.
Truly inspiring and well worth the time spent accompanying two brave men on their quest.
4 stars out of 5.