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Bike Tour Adventures Podcast

Interview 045: Cory Mortensen | The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America's forgotten roadways on an accidental journey of discover‪y‬

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"In this episode of Bike Tour Adventures, I speak with Cory Mortensen about his 2-month leave of absence in which he cycled from Minnesota to California. In this story of self-discovery, Cory broke away from society’s expectations and embarked on an adventure that forever changed his life’s trajectory. After 20 years of adventure and travel, Cory has finally written a memoir on his life-changing adventure. Titled, The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America’s forgotten roadways on an accidental journey of discovery. Today, we will discus Cory’s new book, how the adventure changed his life, and what compelled him to make such drastic changes to his life in the aftermath."


The Lectorem & Books

Blog Post: The Buddha and The Bee by Cory Mortensen

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[Excerpt from Post] This book gave me the refreshment I needed; to put it more precisely, it was a short vacation from everything that I was reading and living. While reading this memoir, I went through the myriads of experiences with the author and lived the lives and places I have no connections with. It triggered some suppressed desires that I’d buried deep down in my mind and compelled those emotions that were just too surreal. 


Devon Street Review

Blog Post: The Buddha and the Bee: Biking Through America's Forgotten Roadways on a Journey of Discovery - Cory Mortensen

Read on Devon Street Review

[Excerpt from Post]  At times, The Buddha and the Bee feels like what would happen if Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn's iconic anti-hero from Fast Times at Ridgemont High had taken up biking and set his sights on San Francisco. Dude.

The Buddha and the Bee sort of turns the idea of the inspirational memoir upside down, a few obscenities here and there joined at the hip by an occasional joint and near daily rural roadside Chinese dinners and overnight stays in forgotten America's roadside motels.




Humorously written book that proves life isn't about the destination, but about the journey and all the beauty that unfolds if you simply allow life to come to you... with some effort of course.

This book is a page turner. I found myself lying in bed at night laughing aloud at the situations the author experienced, while biking across the country. And at the same time, distilling life lessons that we all encounter into compassionate and simple statements that reminds us that we're all human, living life and wanting to be happy and smile... even when hardships come our way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the sequel. Fore as the reader will discover (without giving anything away), this book is obviously just one journal of a continued journey.

This should be on the New York Times Bestseller list...

-F. Schilling


I’m ready for the sequel.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it ended. It’s not just for bikers. It speaks to the heart of anyone who’s ever wondered if their life is going in the right direction. Every page is a reminder that life is meant to be lived, not spent wishing for something to change. At best, this book will change your life. At worst, you’ll be left hoping Saturn returns for you.

-Lisa A. Thompson


A great storyteller.

This guy is crazy, someone who you don’t want planning a trip for you, but who you’d probably love to have beers with or read a book by. A great storyteller with tons of asides and background info. If you have any interest in biking cross country, reading this will either convince yourself to do it or never try such a thing. Hopefully if you decide to, you’ll plan it out better than he did.

-E.W. Bertram


A Great Change of Pace

I was in just the right mood to read a book like this. Different from my usual fiction, mysteries, etc, The Buddha and the Bee is the story of Cory Mortensen, who decides to make his way by bicycle from Minnesota to California with almost no supplies, no helmet, and practically no plan. Along the way, he meets his share of characters, eats a ton of Subway Italian sandwiches and Chinese food, stays in some of the country's sleaziest motels and takes in the sights in every town he visits - like the giant stuffed polar bear - The White King in Elko, Nevada. His bike breaks down multiple times, but he finally makes it to California.

Cory Mortensen is a true free spirit. I have never done anything like he's done and I am envious I hope he continues to have adventures and write about them! This book was a great change of pace for me from my normal reads and I enjoyed it immensely.



Great Escape During a Pandemic

Many of us long to leave our everyday life behind and travel and explore new areas. Usually this escape is in the form of a road trip with the family piled into the car. There are exceptions, and Cory Mortensen's, "our hero" love of biking allows him to take his Specialized Allez bike from Chaska, Minnesota to Truckee, California. Even though Mortensen is an experienced outdoors enthusiast and marathoner, he is ill-prepared for a cross country bike ride which provides many humorous moments in this book. Mortensen's solo bike trip allows him to meditate during his isolation on the road: "It wasn't just a bike trip. It was an adventure, and adventures were not dictated by the expected. They were adventures because of the unexpected things that happened and how we embraced the challenges."

This book is engaging, humorous, and a great escape during a pandemic. Interesting facts and trivia about the landscape and cities Mortensen travels through are an added bonus. This book is a gift to the reader to examine our own lives and reveal our adventurous spirit!

This book was provided to me through a Goodreads Kindle giveaway.

-Joyce Edmeier


Changing Life

Cory was going to a wedding in California from Minneapolis. No problem except he decided to ride a bicycle. Not being a biker he didn’t realize what he was getting into. After the first day he was ready to quit but surprisingly he didn’t. To me it was insane riding up mountains (I couldn’t do it). With no cell phone and only using pay phones and computers at the library to let his dad know he was OK he actually made it. A lot of mishap along the way. A lot of history of the different places he stopped. Cory had a two month leave from work but by the end of his ride his life had changed. He called his boss, quit his job and let the wind take him onto his next book—can’t wait



Well written and witty

I really enjoyed this book! Cory Mortensen writes about his journey biking from Minnesota to California. I "oh, no'ed" everytime a car pulled up. And, I had a mini-anxiety response everytime he blew out a tyre! What really caught my attention were the historical aspects of the towns he went through. Interesting, engaging, entertaining! Well written and witty. Thank you, Netgalley, for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.



Perfect book for an escape

Perfect book for an escape. Mortensen’s story of his trip from Minnesota to California is engaging. It’s fun to see how he progressed from enthusiastic to almost quitting to not wanting it to end. Makes me want to do a similar ride, but also also glad that I haven’t!



Honest, emotional, funny

Cory takes the reader on a journey into the vast landscapes of the American West and into his deepest thoughts. Told from an honest, emotional, funny, self-depreciating perspective, it gives the reader pause to reflect on their own life and perhaps light a fire or at least stir some dormant embers of a quest for adventure. If you are a fan of Blue Highways, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, On the Road, Into the Wild, A Walk In the Woods or other similar tome, then you should put The Buddha and the Bee on your reading list.

-John Heckenlaible


Captures the lure of movement

Oh, this was so much more than I expected!

This book was the perfect escape from pandemic isolation and a billion Zoom meetings. Cory Mortensen's account of his spur-of-the-moment bike ride from Minnesota to California in 2001 made me feel like I was outside in the sunshine, heading for the next little town. Whether you bike, run, walk, or drive, this book captures the lure of movement - to crest the next hill, to press on until dark, to chase that vanishing point on the horizon.

There's a lot about biking in this book (and about not biking, as tire-fixing and beer-drinking are also persistent themes), but the book is also a genial travelogue about the states the author crossed. Tidbits about history and landmarks pop up here and there, as though the author is whizzing by them. It's disconcerting at first, especially as the voice tends to shift from raconteur to instructor, but by the middle of the book, I found I was looking forward to it.

I really enjoyed the author's accounts of what he saw and experienced on the trip, from the acres of terrifying corn, to the cowboy boots on posts, to the heartbreaking days after 9/11, to the grandeur of the Rockies, to all the scuzzy motels he stayed in, to the aliens he may or may not have encountered. (Yep. Aliens. You try riding/driving through the Salt Flats at night.) He's particularly lyrical about the scuzzy motels, which have magnificent names and similarities in décor: chained TV, plastic-wrapped cups, mold lurking somewhere in the shower.

Great book. Once I read the footnote, even the pretentious spelling of "tire" made me laugh.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

-Rosemary Reeve


A welcome distraction

What can go wrong or right in a short bike ride? A lot. What can go wrong or right on a 2,000 mile cross country trek? Also a lot.

As a cyclist myself and lover of random trivia bits, I enjoyed watching Mortensen’s quick evolution from novice to sunburnt chaffed road veteran. I’ve read quite a few journals of similar journeys and this one is easily one of the most humorous; plus Mortensen is a bit of a maths nerd, computing for fun when times are rough.

The journey did change our “hero” but the self revelations are gentle, tinged with humor and it doesn't feel like they are laid on too thick. Especially in a time of Covid it was a welcome distraction to spend a few evenings reading of Mortensen’s adventure and I wouldn’t mind reading about more - where did our intrepid hero go next?

-Book Snuggery

The Independent.png

The Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards


An Amazon
Best Selling Book 



Best Indie Book Award


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