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The Four

Local Author’s Newest Novel is Like ‘Moby Dick on a Bicycle’

Promo Image: Local Author’s Newest Novel is Like ‘Moby Dick on a Bicycle’

A Northern Michigan author made a big splash in the literary world with one of his books—and now he’s at it again.

“Bicycle Hobo,” written by award winning local author Bob Downes, is best described as “Moby Dick on a bicycle,” Downes says.

It’s about a bicyclist on a rampage, seeking a homicidal motorist—and inspired by a real-life incident Downes experienced.

“I was riding my bike from Seattle to Traverse City, and I was riding across North Dakota, and nearly got hit by a big RV, he kind of veered into my lane and just missed running me over,” Downes says. “You know, you get really mad when something like that happens, so I conceived this sort of novel.”

Downes has published five books so far, including “Windigo Moon: A Novel of Native America,” which won three literary awards and is about the Ojibiwe Indians of the upper Great Lakes.

“Just for fun 25 years ago, I wrote a short story about an Indian hunter who is trying to feed his family,” Downes says. “He is chased by a mortal enemy in the winter and I put that story away, started Northern Express and I got to thinking, what about that hunter?  Who did he love?  Who were his people?  So I wrote another story and then my daughter told me about this art prize writing contest in Grand Rapids and sure enough I won first prize for that story so I decided to write the book.  And now it has won three literary awards and it has done real well.”