Heidi Across America: One Woman’s Journey on a Bicycle Through the Heartland

Health Communications. Apr. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780757324970. pap. $17.95. TRAV
Cyclist, artist, and writer Beierle wanted to research the economic effects of bicycle tourism on rural economies while a grad student in community and regional planning, so in the summer of 2010, at age 35, she took a cross-country cycling trip along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail from Eugene, OR, to Washington, DC. Her final destination was the Preserving the Historic Road conference in Washington, where she would present a paper. Beierle’s long solo ride turned mentally and physically challenging as she traveled through Wyoming, where she sorted through incidents from her past, then continued on her way through intense heat and humidity—which made her fearful of getting heatstroke—in Kansas and Missouri. The weather forced Beierle to take a break from the trail at one point, but she still made it to Washington, DC, traveling first by train to meet her boyfriend in New Jersey and then cycling into the nation’s capital. Her book reveals her conversations with fellow cyclists she encountered along the way and with those who offered support and hospitality when she needed it the most.
VERDICT This intrepid, honest, compelling, introspective travel memoir is beautifully descriptive of the rural parts of the United States as it ranges from the mountains to the plains to the cities. Cyclists, armchair travelers, and women exploring new directions in life will be drawn to this book.
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