Heidi Across America: One Woman's Journey on a Bicycle Through the Heartland (Paperback)

Heidi Across America: One Woman's Journey on a Bicycle Through the Heartland By Heidi Beierle  Cover Image
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A memoir of homecoming – Heidi Across America is a gritty story of how opening our hearts to others enables us to open our hearts to ourselves and love what we find there.

In the summer of 2010, Heidi Beierle had just finished her first year of graduate studies in community and regional planning and decided to pedal her bicycle solo from her home on the west coast across rural America to the Preserving the Historic Road conference in Washington, D.C. What started as a research trip turned into an intimately physical and psychological encounter with self and nationhood.

Heidi was 35 at the time and didn’t love much about herself except her ability to endure grueling physical undertakings. She viewed her journey as an opportunity to fix her failures and insufficiencies. There were also some research questions she wanted to explore: Why do people live in small towns and what do they like about it? Did a bicyclist like herself bring economic benefit to the small towns she visited? What could communities do to support or invite cyclists to stay in their towns? What could cyclists do to support the communities?

Along the way, she was surprised by the kindness of strangers and the emotional pinch of traveling through Wyoming where she grew up. Her journey led her through the Plains and into the Ozarks where the heat climbed to agonizing temperatures and every pedal stroke in the heat felt one closer to death. By the time she completed the trip, Heidi discovered a newfound compassion for herself and a growing love for her country. Strangers opened their hearts to her and in turn, she opened her heart to herself.

And her questions began to change and mirror things many Americans are asking themselves today: How can I be okay in my own skin? What does it mean to be enough? How do I satisfy my desire to travel without harming the planet? What does it mean to love America?

For many young people, it is a rite of passage to light out on an adventure to see the world and expose themselves to new experiences, but we don’t often talk about how Americans seeing America can open us to the diversity, awe, and wonder available right here in our nation. Heidi Across America offers a journey to self-love, empathy, consideration for others, and respect for the spirit of place as pathways to find connection and home.

About the Author

Heidi Beierle is an artist, writer, and adventurer who grew up in the wind and high plains of Wyoming. Her writing about her cross-country bicycle ride has been published in National Geographic Traveler, High Desert Journal, VoiceCatcher Journal, Journal of America's Byways, and on the Adventure Cycling Association blog. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.  heidibeierle.com 

Praise For…

Heidi Across America is a thrilling ride and glide through both landscape and story space. In these times where travel has turned into a complex labyrinth of stress, I found a home inside the journey, and heart enough for all of us. A triumph for those of us who care about moving through the world with care, compassion, and consciousness.”   

—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Thrust 

“Beierle’s honest account of her cross-country adventure scrapes off the veneer of bike touring and exposes the truth of pedaling away from the past. Readers will discover the grace and power that come from being vulnerable on a bike and on the page. I was rooting for Beierle to the very last page.” 

—Sara Dykman, author of Bicycling with Butterflies 

Heidi Across America is a glorious celebration of adventure, the unwavering spirit, and the boundless potential that resides within each of us. As she pedals her way across the heartland, Heidi discovers magnificent and challenging landscapes, captivating characters, and what it means to be a woman on her own in contemporary America. An unforgettable adventure that transcends miles, this beautiful book reveals the transformative power of the open road and the profound joy of self-discovery.” 

—Karen Karbo, author of In Praise of Difficult Women

“A journey of discovery from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Heidi Beierle's solo bicycle adventure reveals an America writ small but full of generous, kind-hearted people. It is a vivid tale of a soul stretched across a continent, a story of strength and pain and resilience. It's like seeing old friends in the people and places of America through new eyes.” 

—David Goodrich, author of A Hole in the Wind and A Voyage Across an Ancient Ocean 

“Heidi Beierle’s memoir, Heidi Across America, is what we all need to read in our current climate of cultural and political division. Beierle brings her open-hearted curiosity to every roadway, every diner, and every person (or animal) she encounters, offering the reader a glimpse into what it really means to be a true citizen of a homeland as vast and diverse as the United States. On a bicycle and depending upon the kindness of strangers, this author takes us on a journey that is more than a grueling ride through the heartland. It is a guide for all of us to slow down and really look at what is right in front of us. If you need a shot of optimism and hope, Heidi Across America will put it right into your veins.” 

—Cami Ostman, founder of The Narrative Project and author of Second Wind 




"Heidi Beierle lets us sit side-saddle as she rides from coast to coast, facing heat and headwinds, finding new friends and old demons, in a search for this place called America and her place within it. At once propulsive and poetic, epic and intimate, Heidi Across America will make you want to drop everything, take to the road, and see where you end up." 

—Brian Benson, author of Going Somewhere and co-author with Richard Brown of This Is Not for You 

“In the tradition of Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, Heidi Beierle's memoir takes us on a courageous, unflinching journey of the road and spirit. Written with the kind of searing honesty so deeply needed in today's Fakebook and TikTok world, this book is a feast, an inspiration and an invitation to look within and find out what really matters.” 

— Sara Connell, bestselling author of Thought Leader Academy and The Science of Getting Rich for Women 
Product Details
ISBN: 9780757324970
ISBN-10: 0757324975
Publisher: Health Communications Inc
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English