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I just finished reading "the memory of running" by Ron McLarty to unwind from midterms week, and i would recommend it to you - on the basis that it's a decent read, and because the main character has a fondness for his old maroon Raleigh 3-speed (sorry, the author must not be much of a bike nerd or retrogrouch - that's about all the details you get of the bike), digs it out of his parents' garage after 30 years of sitting, and starts out on a ride that ends up taking him from Rhode Island across America to Los Angeles. The people he meets, and the things he sees are touching and i am still thinking about them a week later. If anybody's already read it - i'd love to hear what you thought.
Old thread, but I just started reading this book and I love it, so far. (No spoilers, please.)
I don't know that the author is a vintage bike nut, but he takes pains to include more details than most authors would. "I had a bike but it was American and it wasn't light, so Dad got me the Raleigh." (Paraphrasing, here.) It didn't have to be a Raleigh. It could have been "a bicycle."
He goes to the same level of detail on the other vintage vehicles in the story. "Mom's rusted out Karmmann Ghia," Bethany's "Renault Dauphine," etc.
More important, and more telling, is the "inside info" that tells me the author is closely connected to cycling. In separate incidents, Smithy (the protagonist) is mistaken for a homeless man and verbally harassed by a motorist. After starting his journey, he finds himself subsisting on more healthy food, but less of it. His mind awakens and he picks up a book to read for the first time in many years. He describes the hypnotic rhythm of pedalling for long distances, etc.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book, so far, and am about halfway through it. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I don't really care. The characters are well developed and interesting, and the bicycle (and cycling journey) are only backdrops, but well thought out. There is one scene so far (with the pastor) that I found a bit farfetched (why would the pastor reveal so much personal info to this stranger?), and one mistake where Smithy (not only the protagonist but also the narrator) claims to not remember a doctor's name, but then in the next paragraph quotes the doctor introducing himself by name.
I haven't read a good novel in a long time, but I would recommend this one to anybody.