Saturday, March 24, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #83: You & A Bike & A Road by Eleanor Davis

What is this book about?

Well, the title is You & A Bike & A Road. It's by Eleanor Davis. It was published by Koyama Press in May 2017.

The outside of the book will tell you no more. Opening it doesn't give much more information -- some legalese on the copyright page, and more of the pretty cover scenery on the French flaps.

The only way to know what You & A Bike & A Road is about is to read it. But it's a comic, so reading it is easy. You might as well just jump in and see what you find.

The same spirit drove Davis to try to bike from her parents' home in Tucson, Arizona to her home in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father had just built her a bike, so why not ride it back? Why not draw a couple of pages each day along the way, and see what comes of it?

So this is a travelogue, of what Davis hoped would be a month or two of biking across the southwest and southeast US, starting March 16, 2016. Davis works in what looks like soft pencils, and gives us an impressionistic view of days on the road -- knee pain, headwinds, flowers, friendly fellow bikers, and the omnipresent Border Patrol. It was over two thousand miles, but she sets off in good spirits: alone but happy to see the world and push against it for a while.

Any travel book is as much about its creator as the territory covered, and You & A Bike & A Road is no exception. Davis was riding alone, camping alone, spending most of her days alone with her thoughts and her bike beneath her. That'll lead to a lot of introspection, a lot of thinking.

You & A Bike & A Road is a lovely, thoughtful book, as much a meditation on life and physical activity as anything else. Davis makes great pictures and thinks serious thoughts -- and is open enough to meet people and learn about the landscapes she travels through. This book is as wide and open as the desert and as welcoming as the people you meet. If you see it, pick it up, even if you're not sure what it is.

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