The Bicycle Man


by Bob Deans

On the outskirts of the Virginia capital, in 1968, delivering the Richmond paper each morning becomes a hero’s journey into the riven heart of a nation torn by racial ferment and divisive war for Sandy, a boy who confronts a staggering loss with help from a mysterious figure who reshapes forever his vision of friendship, faith and possibility. 

Hardcover, Fiction

Available here for Amazon’s Kindle.

Also available in audiobook format.

Also available in the book package Coming of Age in the 1960s South.


For Sandy Rivers, the known world is the suburban landscape of his morning paper route, an intimate if unsteady place where the illusions of comfort, sanctuary and myth are shattered by daily headlines that chronicle a country torn by Vietnam, Civil Rights and the struggle for national purpose.

It’s the spring of 1968. Belief in American providence is clashing with the limits of American might. During the next sixteen months, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Bobby Kennedy is killed in L.A., Richard Nixon goes to the White House, and Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.

For a Virginia community on the outskirts of Richmond, the racial fault line is a bamboo grove by a honeysuckle swamp. The messenger for national promise and peril is Sandy, who delivers the news, the good with the bad. And helping him sort out the growing pains of a new job and young love is a mysterious figure with a tragic secret who both challenges the boy and stands by him as Sandy confronts a staggering loss.

This is a story of friendship. This is a story of hope. It’s the story of an era that helped shape our country and define our times, told through one boy’s extraordinary journey through his own small patch of America. And it’s the story of a debt he can never repay to someone he knows only as, The Bicycle Man.

About the Author

Bob Deans started out in the news business when he was ten years old, delivering his hometown paper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He spent three decades as a reporter for The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He’s a former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and author of the nonfiction book, The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. This is his debut novel. Deans and his wife, Karen, live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have three grown children.


“Lyrical, lustrous and tender. Deans is a craftsman, and the words here flow with certainty, truth and ache, taking us into the promise, discovery and heart of a boy as the world outside both marches forward and encroaches on his own. A beautiful and captivating story.”

Major Garrett, Chief Washington Correspondent, CBS News


This is a jewel of a book, its polished facets of memory and history, of love and regret, shifting with the light.  Bob Deans evokes a time and place—Richmond, Virginia, in the late 1960s—dangling between past and present, seen through the eyes of a teenaged boy living passionately in the present.  The story is powerful and touching, showing humility and affection for people caught in time, as we all are.

Edward Ayers, finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize