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  1. #1
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Heft on Wheels...

    Just finished reading "Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180" by Mike Magnuson. A very entertaining read about how he turned his life around by cycling. Thought I'd recommend it to you all.
    It's a good day to ride.
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    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Yes ctyler,

    I've read it and it was an entertaining read. Sorry to hear that lately Mike's made another 180 and is pretty much back where he was; maybe worse.

    Rick / OCRR

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    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    I hadn't heard that. Wow, that's too bad.
    It's a good day to ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    ...Sorry to hear that lately Mike's made another 180 and is pretty much back where he was; maybe worse...
    -hard to believe - does anyone really know?

    I just finished it and it was very inspiring.

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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Heck - if he had only done two 90 degree turns in the same direction, he would be in great shape!!
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  6. #6
    rck
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    He has lately written a couple of articles for bicycling mag, is back riding and living in calif.

  7. #7
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    Yes ctyler,

    I've read it and it was an entertaining read. Sorry to hear that lately Mike's made another 180 and is pretty much back where he was; maybe worse.

    Rick / OCRR
    Details or links? I had not heard that and I'd like to know for my own edification.

    My thoughts:

    1. I admit I was a bit jealous of him in the book. He wrote from a "big fat slob with a world champion lurking within" vantage point. I'm a "big fat slob with a lowly cyclotourist lurking within" type. I would have enjoyed the book a bit more if he didn't view everything from such a competitive angle. But that is me. I'm slow. I'll get dropped on my own funeral procession.

    2. It wouldn't surprise me if he relapsed. Many use cycling to replace one addiction with another, or to go from one self-medication routine to another. Of course I applaud it but when you get right down to it, cycling is spiritual or transcendent only if we give it that meaning. There comes a day when many of us can't ride bikes anymore, and what then? Attachment to your bike is much easier than attachment to your family, community, and God (or Gaia or Papa Darwin or whatever you don't feel threatened by). Harder work is usually met with greater rewards.

    But that's just me, I guess.

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    Senior Member ItsJustAHill's Avatar
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    http://mikemagnuson.blogspot.com/

    I loved Heft on Wheels. Bought extra loaner copies so my friends could read it too.

    Sad to say, it looks as though his demons caught up with him. He lost the teaching gig, cheated on his wife, and ended up living in what appears to be one of the not-so-good sections of LA. And the Litespeed he rode in the book is gone too.

  9. #9
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    My thoughts:

    2. It wouldn't surprise me if he relapsed. Many use cycling to replace one addiction with another, or to go from one self-medication routine to another. Of course I applaud it but when you get right down to it, cycling is spiritual or transcendent only if we give it that meaning. There comes a day when many of us can't ride bikes anymore, and what then? Attachment to your bike is much easier than attachment to your family, community, and God (or Gaia or Papa Darwin or whatever you don't feel threatened by). Harder work is usually met with greater rewards.

    But that's just me, I guess.
    I've gone thru all manner of "addictions" and interests throughout my life, but cycling has always been the constant. Unlike avocations such as classical guitar or undergoing courses of study for certifications, cycling is something that can easily insinuate itself into your life. You may not be able to maintain a schedule of three hours per day of studying a musical instrument, but you can easily use the bike to get to your classes or to work and back. You can substitute training with commuting; the only difference is that you've got a backpack on (with a lock and a dry t-shirt) when you're commuting.

    However, unless cycling has become a lifestyle (you did not choose to ride the bike; the bike chose you to ride it!), it's really easy to regress. Riding a bike takes a lot of mental discipline (or a lot of passion), especially when it's cold and raining outside. Well, for me it takes no mental discipline. If it's cold and raining, I'm on the bike anyway. It actually takes more mental discipline for me to NOT ride the bike. And unless you're at that point, then cycling is just an elective activity, and you're not going to last.

    L.

  10. #10
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Oh, and I wanted to comment on "harder work is met with greater rewards." This is probably the major thing that got me completely into cycling. In high school, I was never an athlete. Team sports require skills, and attaiing skills is a spotty undertaking. You go for days and weeks without getting any better, then suddenly you get better. Cycling, on the other hand, was an activity where you got out what you put in. The longer you trained, the longer you could train. The faster you went, the faster you were capable of going. To the point that I was able to get a bronze medal at a UCI Masters World Track Championship. You do reach a point of diminishing returns, determined by your genetics, talent, and what drugs you're willing to take (I never took that path, so I only got so far, but I'm OK with that). But that's the great thing about cycling: you get out of it what you put in.

    L.

  11. #11
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    I liked "Heft on Wheels," too.

    Then about a year ago he had an article on Greg Lemond in Bicycling. As I recall the story, it was about how several years earlier he had interviewed Greg Lemond, and then was too depressed/distraught/f**** up to finish the story, so it never appeared. So the story he finally published -- the one I was reading -- was a story about someone who got to interview one of the great cyclists of all time and then couldn't bring himself to finish the story, and what it was like to have interviewed Greg Lemond but not be able to finish the story (at least that's my memory of the Bicycling article).

    Having been a journalist at one point in my life, the last thing I want to spend my money on is reading an article about someone with writer's block. If I wanted to experience writer's block again, I could just sit down in front of a typewriter and stress out.

    It was an ultra-introspective piece of crap, not worthy of even the low standards of Bicycling Magazine. I was surprised they published it.

    I was disappointed.

  12. #12
    Senior Member smoore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    I liked "Heft on Wheels," too.

    Then about a year ago he had an article on Greg Lemond in Bicycling. As I recall the story, it was about how several years earlier he had interviewed Greg Lemond, and then was too depressed/distraught/f**** up to finish the story, so it never appeared. So the story he finally published -- the one I was reading -- was a story about someone who got to interview one of the great cyclists of all time and then couldn't bring himself to finish the story, and what it was like to have interviewed Greg Lemond but not be able to finish the story (at least that's my memory of the Bicycling article).

    Having been a journalist at one point in my life, the last thing I want to spend my money on is reading an article about someone with writer's block. If I wanted to experience writer's block again, I could just sit down in front of a typewriter and stress out.

    It was an ultra-introspective piece of crap, not worthy of even the low standards of Bicycling Magazine. I was surprised they published it.

    I was disappointed.

    I'm a broadcast journalist and I totally understand you feelings. That said, I did enjoy this article. I felt sad for Magnsuon at the end and said a prayer for him at the end of the day. When I finished Heft On Wheels (which I greatly enjoyed) the first thing I thought was that he had just exchanged one addiction for another. I hope he gets to the real reason for his problems...and hobbies, activities and girlfriends seldom provide what is really needed.

  13. #13
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    Details or links? I had not heard that and I'd like to know for my own edification. .
    Sorry I didn't get back to you Weak Link, But from reading the posts above, you now know what I know. Hope Mike is able to recover this time.

    Rick / OCRR

  14. #14
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Interesting perspectives. For whatever reason his book and articles did not appeal to me.

    I had also purchased Heft on Wheels thinking it was going to be a great book that I could relate to, particularly someone being out of shape and getting fit. I also had a little connection in that Mike climbed Grandfather Mountain doing Bridge to Bridge with my brother explaining to him that he was writing a book about his cycling story. I thought how interesting, I bet this guys story will probably be a good read and hold my attention, and I might even be able to learn something from it.

    I'll have to admit to not being able to even finish the book. I got fed up with what seemed to be repetitive information and stories-he'd smoke, drink, feel like crap--then get into shape through cycling only to relapse and restart the process..........leaving carnage along the way........If he has a problem worthy of writing about it he needs to fix the problem------not relapse so he can write more stories about how he can overcome the same problem again and again. My role models are those people who figure out that have a problem, overcome it and have the strength and fortitude to not let it get the best of them again. While I'm not an author, I thought it was just plain poorly written as well. My Mom was a teacher and she would have probably graded it a C, maybe.

    I also read the Greg Lemond article in Bicycling .........and felt the article was again biased towards the author much more than what the real story was. Like Heft, his story felt more about "Me"........
    I don't mean to demean Mike and truly hope he gets himself squared away once and for all. As you can tell I'm not a fan of his work though. Maybe I just need a "fairy tale ending" to suit my tastes???
    Ride your Ride!!

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    I'm one of the people who is wishy-washy about the book. All the negs and positives previously mentioned left me with a feeling of being "unwashed", sort of like after a hard ride. I'd worked my way through the book and am still not sure it was worth the effort.

    Part of what I didn't care for was his apparent need to demonstrate his "creative writing skills" which reminded me of bad Faulkner-wannabes. I could appreciate the overall story and accomplishments but thoroughly disliked the style. And his (near-?)addictive aggressive pursuit of race-level cycling, well, as someone above said, it seemed like substituting one addiciton for others. That left me feeling sorry for him, not happy.

    Shrug. It certainly wasn't the worst book I've ever read but I won't be reading it again.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 11-08-10 at 07:53 AM. Reason: spelling/typo corrections
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    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  16. #16
    LCI #1853
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    I liked Heft On Wheels... saw an extract in Bicycling back around 2003, I think, and bought the book when it came out in the summer of 2004. Heft is not so much a book on bicycling as it is focused on obsessive behavior. Yes, it's a string of choppy little essays, but that's what these sort of writers do for catharsis... they write about it. Mike described what he made his sudents do in the writing class, and it became obvious that's what he was doing for himself in that book. He's still a pretty good storyteller, and I still enjoy his articles when I can find them.

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    From some of his blog posts (which haven't been updated in a couple months) it would seem he is auditioning as a commentator for cycling events living in LA.

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