Wayne Tefs is the Dead Man on a Bike, his posthumous follow-up memoir to Roller Coaster: A Cancer Journey. Diagnosed with a rare cancer in 1994, Tefs spent the next 20 years raising a family, writing acclaimed works of fictions, battling cancer, and cycling. Always cycling.
Brutally visceral in his approach, Tefs explains, “this book is about the wound, about how cancer sticks a knife in your side and says, There, do what you can. What are the options? You can fall over dead; whinge out your days; leave the knife to fester; yank it out and splash blood around; pretend the knife is not there; anaesthetize it; use it to wound others; rage. Attempt to ride it away on a bicycle.”
And ride he does. Tefs cycles along the highways and byways of the Manitoba prairie; steep and arid Catalina Foothills; and lush, rolling French countryside. While he rides, he unflinchingly examines his sense of Self, uncovering bright flares of insight, earthy humour, deep seated fears of mortality, and Zen-like moments when the Self falls away and all that remains is peace.
Wayne Tefs was born in Winnipeg and grew up in northwestern Ontario. He edited a number of anthologies and published nine novels and a work of non-fiction. His novel Moon Lake received the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction in 2000 and his novel Be Wolf won the 2007 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. Wayne Tefs died in 2014.