Member News: Spontaneous Revolutions by Liza McQuade

Liza McQuade Author Photo
Spontaneous Revolutions Cover

Spontaneous Revolutions: Seeing America One Pedal at a Time is the story of a middle-aged couple’s spur-of-the-moment bicycle journey across the country. These two out-of-shape, inexperienced cyclists rode from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. It took four (sometimes) grueling months. Being overweight and over 50 was one thing. They also knew next to nothing about bikes – didn’t even know how to change a flat tire when they left! And, they chose to travel unplugged.

Why did they do this seemingly insane thing? Well, beyond the “wild hair,” they wanted to meet the people of the tiny towns and byways of America. It’s also a testament to overcoming challenges, staying motivated and enjoying the kindness of strangers. People constantly surprised them with support: invitations to their homes and cheerleading along the way. The experience reaffirmed their faith in humanity, proving how many good people there are across America.

There are moments of hilarity, fear, surprise, struggle, tenderness, frustration, beauty, danger and love. The book leaves the reader with confidence and inspiration: if these two crazy kids can do it, you can do it – no matter your dream.

Spontaneous Revolutions is also a love story. Author Liza McQuade and her husband reconnected in their marriage, learned to let go of judgement and found they loved each other more than they thought possible. The book was written after McQuade’s husband passed away unexpectedly. It’s not maudlin, it’s an uplifting account of two people who undertook a huge leap of faith and learned to live in the moment.

The trip proved to be a metaphor for taking on any big challenge. Whether you’re making an important decision or scaling a mountain, don’t psych yourself out. Tackle what’s thrown your way head-on, even if you have to get off your bike and walk. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to take life one pedal at a time.


Liza McQuade has always been a free-spirited adventurer. Instead of getting a real job after college, she backpacked the Appalachian Trail with minimal hiking experience, and then took a job as a ski host in Jackson Hole, WY. Communication is her passion. She worked in radio, TV and film for over 30 years in a wide variety of jobs. McQuade and her husband, Clark Campbell, prepared for their cross-country bike trip by eating out, pairing their meals with amazing wines, and discussing how they were going to get in shape—tomorrow! McQuade lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find more about Liza at her website,