"Meet Smithson "Smithy" Ide, an overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk who works as a quality control inspector at a toy-action-figure factory in Rhode Island. By all accounts, especially Smithy's own, he's a loser. Then, within one week, Smithy's beloved parents are killed in a car crash, and Smithy learns that his emotionally troubled, long-lost sister, Bethany, has turned up in a morgue in Los Angeles. Unmoored by the loss of his entire family-Smithy had always hoped Bethany might return-he rolls down the driveway of his parents' house on his old Raleigh bicycle into an epic journey that will take him clear across the country."
The author seems to get the small details of bike touring correct, although his protagonist obviously hasn't read the Touring forum - Smthy Ide carries too much stuff in his saddlebags. But since he's a first time tourist, perhaps he should be forgiven.