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Changing Cadence: Meditations on Life, Family and Country from a Leather Bicycle Seat

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When the company where he worked was acquired in the midst of one of the country's most severe recessions, Mike Dillon found himself without a job. It’s a story common to many, but Dillon's response was far from expected. Instead of searching for new employment, he bought a bicycle, loaded it with camping gear and pedaled alone across the United States. Changing Cadence r When the company where he worked was acquired in the midst of one of the country's most severe recessions, Mike Dillon found himself without a job. It’s a story common to many, but Dillon's response was far from expected. Instead of searching for new employment, he bought a bicycle, loaded it with camping gear and pedaled alone across the United States. Changing Cadence recounts the story of Dillon's travels through the farming and fishing communities of the South; the ranch lands and Bible Belt of Texas; the lonely deserts of New Mexico and Arizona; and finally up the coast of California. Along the way, he crosses paths with others who share his need for wanderlust: the brokenhearted woman from London exploring the West alone on a motorcycle; the pair of college students walking across the country in support of the Tea Party; the woman hiking the circumference of the country on a prosthetic leg (along with her three-legged dog); and fellow cyclists like Don, a middle-aged, yarn-spinning, former Marine with a grey ponytail and a penchant for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins. Over the course of more than 3,500 miles, Dillon rediscovers himself, his family and his country, and learns that it’s never too late for a little adventure.


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When the company where he worked was acquired in the midst of one of the country's most severe recessions, Mike Dillon found himself without a job. It’s a story common to many, but Dillon's response was far from expected. Instead of searching for new employment, he bought a bicycle, loaded it with camping gear and pedaled alone across the United States. Changing Cadence r When the company where he worked was acquired in the midst of one of the country's most severe recessions, Mike Dillon found himself without a job. It’s a story common to many, but Dillon's response was far from expected. Instead of searching for new employment, he bought a bicycle, loaded it with camping gear and pedaled alone across the United States. Changing Cadence recounts the story of Dillon's travels through the farming and fishing communities of the South; the ranch lands and Bible Belt of Texas; the lonely deserts of New Mexico and Arizona; and finally up the coast of California. Along the way, he crosses paths with others who share his need for wanderlust: the brokenhearted woman from London exploring the West alone on a motorcycle; the pair of college students walking across the country in support of the Tea Party; the woman hiking the circumference of the country on a prosthetic leg (along with her three-legged dog); and fellow cyclists like Don, a middle-aged, yarn-spinning, former Marine with a grey ponytail and a penchant for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins. Over the course of more than 3,500 miles, Dillon rediscovers himself, his family and his country, and learns that it’s never too late for a little adventure.

30 review for Changing Cadence: Meditations on Life, Family and Country from a Leather Bicycle Seat

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Dillon rides his bike from Florida to Los Gatos, CA my former hometown. The book is filled with the type of things you want to know: what was the road like, the towns, the weather, the motels, the campgrounds--and it's not all good. In fact I keep thinking it would have been easier with just one other rider, but I understand his desire to ride it alone too. I most enjoyed the people he met, both locals and bikers on the road. Descriptions of scenery were outstanding and really what I wanted to h Dillon rides his bike from Florida to Los Gatos, CA my former hometown. The book is filled with the type of things you want to know: what was the road like, the towns, the weather, the motels, the campgrounds--and it's not all good. In fact I keep thinking it would have been easier with just one other rider, but I understand his desire to ride it alone too. I most enjoyed the people he met, both locals and bikers on the road. Descriptions of scenery were outstanding and really what I wanted to hear too. This is a cross country ride I have always wanted to take, and reading Mike's book made me feel that I could be one step closer. I like his description of the "Wall of No" that he received when others heard of his plan. This along with stories from Adventure Cycling journal will get me out there. Thanks, Mike!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    A refreshing quick read. Provides a short little account of a cross country bike tour from Florida to California by a middle-aged white upper middle classed gentleman. Reminded me of a bike tour I did while in my early twenties. His descriptive writing of landscapes brought back many from my ride as well. This is a great little read while stuck in the house watching a Nor’ Easter through the window and longing for warm days and spinning the pedals.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Philip

    Stellar story will keep you reading I give 5 stars to any book that I can't put down. Dillon writes beautifully. I felt almost as if I were riding besides him..Out of a dozen or so bicyclists travelogues I have enjoyed I think I liked this one most. Stellar story will keep you reading I give 5 stars to any book that I can't put down. Dillon writes beautifully. I felt almost as if I were riding besides him..Out of a dozen or so bicyclists travelogues I have enjoyed I think I liked this one most.

  4. 5 out of 5

    D

    Thank you I was looking for inspiration to start touring and Michael's word's and reflections on his experiences have pushed me in the right direction. A worthy read. Thank you I was looking for inspiration to start touring and Michael's word's and reflections on his experiences have pushed me in the right direction. A worthy read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jen Westfall

    Hilarious adventure and vulnerability.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Loved this book. Accountant between jobs writes beautifully about his cycle adventure across the southern route.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Quotable: As I traveled across the country, this was a concern that I heard from others as well, be they fishermen, ranchers, or farmers. It wasn’t described with politically charged phrases like “global warming” or “climate change,” instead people in almost every community acknowledged that the weather had been getting strange and unpredictable over the last few decades and was now casting uncertainty on their lives and livelihoods. A conversation with any septuagenarian farmer always seemed to Quotable: As I traveled across the country, this was a concern that I heard from others as well, be they fishermen, ranchers, or farmers. It wasn’t described with politically charged phrases like “global warming” or “climate change,” instead people in almost every community acknowledged that the weather had been getting strange and unpredictable over the last few decades and was now casting uncertainty on their lives and livelihoods. A conversation with any septuagenarian farmer always seemed to include a description of how the regular rhythm of the seasons had disappeared since his youth. These people didn’t care about measurements of CO2 parts per million or whether the climate variation was caused by man or due to normal cyclical patterns. Instead, they were focused on something more immediate – would the weather that season allow them to support their families? I was reluctant to fully enjoy the long descent because I knew from experience that it would be followed by a climb. To be candid, I was not built for climbing. I have many cycling friends who are, and they all look like whippets with gaunt faces and long limbs. I was better characterized as a Clydesdale.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Taylor

    What a great book from an average guy. Michael Dillon is open and honest in his story of his travels across the country of a bicycle. He has a wonderful way of bring you on the way as he tell you about his trip from Jacksonville, Fl. to San Francisco, Ca. The back roads of America are opened up to those of us who are riding along in his adventure. The people he meets to the dogs that hound him along his path are all brought to life. He allows you to share his thoughts, his thirst, and sometimes What a great book from an average guy. Michael Dillon is open and honest in his story of his travels across the country of a bicycle. He has a wonderful way of bring you on the way as he tell you about his trip from Jacksonville, Fl. to San Francisco, Ca. The back roads of America are opened up to those of us who are riding along in his adventure. The people he meets to the dogs that hound him along his path are all brought to life. He allows you to share his thoughts, his thirst, and sometimes his fears of the road in which he rides. I have to admit that I too have started thinking about once again cranking the old peddles of the dreams to ride again. What a great way to see the countryside we so often speed by in this fast paced world in order to get to somewhere else to speed away from as well. Thank you Michael for sharing your stories. I look forward to reading about your next adventure on the rode from your 2 wheeler.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    One of my favorite writers—who happens to be a travel writer—is Bill Bryson; he has an incredible ability to shift seamlessly from laugh-out-loud funny to thought-provoking sincerity. In Changing Cadence, Dillon demonstrates the same ability. His adventures are peppered with laugh-out-loud moments and meditations on modern America (particularly the South) that challenge the reader and make you think. But my favorite part of the book, which outshines even the humor, is the conclusion. The endings One of my favorite writers—who happens to be a travel writer—is Bill Bryson; he has an incredible ability to shift seamlessly from laugh-out-loud funny to thought-provoking sincerity. In Changing Cadence, Dillon demonstrates the same ability. His adventures are peppered with laugh-out-loud moments and meditations on modern America (particularly the South) that challenge the reader and make you think. But my favorite part of the book, which outshines even the humor, is the conclusion. The endings of travel memoirs are usually a letdown for me. As they say: it's about the journey, not the destination. But for Dillon, a big part of this journey was the destination: a long, winding route back home. Alpha becomes Omega and all that. It's an accomplishment when any writer can manage to close a memoir as poignantly as Dillon does here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This was an amazing book! Michael Dillon took us all with him on his amazing cross country journey on his bicycle. I felt like I was there, struggling on those climbs with a terrible head wind - and I experienced the joy of a long, clear descent. Not only does Dillon take us on a physical journey, but a mental one as well. I hope to take a lot of perspective from this book into my daily life. This book was funny, stressful, and encouraging! Now to get out there and ride!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Ward

    Good read of the solo travels of a cyclist riding from Florida to California The author has done numerous adventures throughout life, but nothing as daunting as a solo, cross-country cycling trip. Losing his job after a corporate buyout, the author used some free time to travel across the southern United States. As a fellow cyclist, I have to commend the author. It takes incredible inner strength as well as physical strength to embark on a trip such as this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Blaine Keller

    Just a quick spin... Have you ever pedaled a 100 miles? Imagine doing 36 of them in a row! I thoroughly enjoyed Changing Cadence. He pulled you into his trip with his story telling style and sense of humor. I kept anticipating - what will the next day bring? Now the question is, when will...

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.Allegra

    Hats off I commend the rider. It takes courage to not only start but finish such a journey. I thought the actual writing left something to be desired.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Kannav

    A good read for anyone who either bikes, or likes/wants to travel, or wants to get out of his comfort zone, or simply wants to get a different perspective.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    Easy to ride along I read the story quickly and enjoyed the tales within. Anyone who bikes and likes the journey, this is a good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    CJ Web

    A great book about biking experience Interesting to see how others experience on a bike trek are different and similar to the experience that I had for my cross country ride.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Lawrence

    Loved this book! It was inspiring, funny and tells a great story. If you cycle, you'll enjoy this! Loved this book! It was inspiring, funny and tells a great story. If you cycle, you'll enjoy this!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ann Blake

  20. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dale Freeman

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Mabry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Vigrass

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Aiken

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erik Huss

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brad Dean

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert G.Forrest

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shinsuke Ikegame

  29. 5 out of 5

    Moi Reynoso

  30. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Pinto

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