Drunk and bereft, he takes his old Raleigh bicycle and starts cycling. Once he starts, he can't stop and then he's riding across America to recover his sister. Along the way he meets all sorts of people who help or hinder him. He hears the confession of a priest, he rescues a boy from a snow storm, he has a gun pointed in his face, he's hit by a truck and helps a man dying of AIDS.
Smithy's ride is an extraordinary quest, to rediscover the past and memories of Bethany, but it's also his journey back to life.