Thursday, April 14, 2022

Conquering the Borderlands


Two things attracted me to this little-known self-published 2009 cycle-travel book that I first heard about on 1) the age of the author (Lorraine Veisz doesn’t say exactly how old she was when she did this trip but I’m guessing, from clues in the book, such as her mention of having done a bike trip with her husband in Maine in 1971, that she was around 60 years old) ; and 2) the fact that Veisz did the trip from San Diego to St. Augustine as part of an organized bike tour.

The age thing first: Probably because of my own age (55), I’ve become interested, of late, in cycle-travel books written by people who are around the age of retirement (though that dream is still a ways off for me). Much like the young person’s coming-of-age bike-trip book (think Josie Dew’s The Wind in My Wheels or Kate Harris’s Lands of Lost Borders), the bookend “going-of-age” cycle-touring book, by a person transitioning out of the working world, has become a popular sub-genre of its own. (See, for instance, Anne Mustoe’s A Bike Ride or David Lamb’s Over the Hills.) Veisz captures the rich possibilities and particular anxieties of this period in her description in the opening pages of this “stage in life when one begins to question if it is still prudent to pursue old dreams, when responsibilities have been largely met but physical limitations are lurking is a type of chronological borderlands.”