"Your job has been eliminated." In other words, you're unemployed, out of work, and desperate to find a new purpose. When US Army veteran Larry Walsh heard those words, his world was turned upside down. With a desire to move beyond unemployment, create an exciting new future for himself, and push past his limits, he decides to fulfill his lifelong dream to bike across the country.
He purchases a Surly Disc Trucker touring bike and begins his 3,120-mile ride of the Southern Tier from California to Florida. Cycling over treacherous mountains, through open plains, unforgiving deserts, and over 200 unique small towns, Walsh not only discovers a new world and new people, but he uncovers a side of himself that he thought was long forgotten—one filled with true grit and determination.
In Suit to Saddle, Walsh chronicles his story of triumph over adversity. Each person he meets along the road plays an integral part of his quest for inner peace and growth. Through the eyes of a one-armed cyclist, a retired police officer, a gun-toting waitress, and a thousand miles of open road, Walsh learns that the true meaning of a life well-lived is the journey.
Join Walsh on his trip across America and see what it feels like to experience life one mile at a time.
Though this account is fairly lengthy, Walsh proves adept at the skill all long-distance cyclists must master: pacing. He transports readers right into the adventure, with each leg of his trip depicted in memorable detail. His descriptions of grueling yet liberating days in the saddle are the book’s heart. Though self discovery was his original motivation for the trip, Walsh demonstrates throughout that he knows himself well, which comes out in his reflections: he knows his own strengths, especially as a team member, and stays consistent when it comes to what inspires him or how to approach challenges.
Still, that self-discovery is paramount to the story, as Walsh demonstrates that it can come in all forms. He learns that he is happiest as himself—someone who chases dreams and accomplishes them even when the going gets tough. As a parent, friend, and spouse, Walsh learns the importance of being genuine and authentic. His honesty throughout the memoir is poignant and both exemplifies and crystallizes his concluding reflections. Readers on mid-life journeys of their own will cheer Walsh on as he reminds them that a journey doesn’t have to be a means to an end —it’s the trip itself that matters.
Takeaway: While facing a major transition in life, a family man takes to the pavement and rides across the U.S. on a bicycle.
Great for fans of: George Mahood’s Not Tonight Josephine, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+