One American Woman Fifty Italian Men: A Journey of Cycling, Love, and Will
When Lynne Ashdown, her new lover, and more than fifty Italian male cyclists departed Italy in June of1990, no one had yet ventured into the Long-closed reaches of Eastern Europe since the falling of the IronCurtain more than forty years before. They would be cycling almost a thousand miles from Verona, acrossNorthern Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to Warsaw, in just ten days. Ashdown hadn't realized shewould be the only woman cycling with the fifty-four men.
One American Woman Fifty Italian Men tells not only of a sweeping journey of adventure,romantic disaster, and cultural collision, but also of a revelation of Ashdown's identity, forged by her will inthe constant pain of trying to keep up with the men who were stronger. This trip back in time shows thestark contrasts between the world she knew as an American and the world she saw in impoverished EasternEurope. This true story, rich with images of the countries they cycled through, describes the warmth and thecycling lives of the Italians, as well as the lives of people who lived under communism for so long and thevalues that survive all governments.
In One American Woman Fifty Italian Men, Ashdown conveys the aloneness of cycling over vastdistances even in a spread-out pack, the growing pain and fatigue of each pedal-stroke, and the caring ofthe men for her and for each other. This journey draws us into a universal drama not just of cyclists, but alsoof hearts and possibilities.
About the Author
Lynne grew up roaming the hills ofOakland, California, pretending to be an explorer. Married and divorced young, she raised her two boys inMill Valley, California. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, she became a singer-guitarist and played in venues aroundthe San Francisco Bay Area.
Years later, her mother bribed her to stop singing in return for paying her way through college. Sheseized the opportunity and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, one year ahead of heroldest son. Her degree in (third world) Development Studies has served to deepen her vision of the worldshe writes about.
A native Californian, she also has lived in Hawaii, Libya, Italy, and England, and has traveled by bicycleover much of Europe and the Western United States. Spurred on by an insatiable desire to know the truth ofthe world, in 2005 she walked over four hundred miles across Spain on the Santiago de CompostelaPilgrimage Trail. There are many truths, she learned, and her quest continues.She became a writer through the back door in the context of work, before finally following her heart andpublishing tales of her adventures in newspapers and magazines.
A longtime feng shui practitioner, she has also written Twenty First Century Feng Shui for Your HomeOffice, to be published soon. Also in the works is a tale of misadventures she experienced on the bikeand with Italian culture while scouting cycle-touring routes in Italy for a guidebook. Writing is her joy.
She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
- Wheatmark, December 2009
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