Cadence Press Rolls Out Bike Books To Help You Find Your Rhythm
By Joe Kurmaskie
Who would launch a bike book publishing company during a recession when many publishers are closing up shop? It sounds like pedaling uphill in a headwind with storm clouds building on the horizon. But if you’ve towed your sons across continents, outpaced angry elephants in Botswana, been treed by geese in New Hampshire, and reclaimed your possessions in a mountain bike race in the Australian Outback, taking on the challenge of launching a publishing company during “interesting times” is in character. Par for the course, really, my course anyway, that looks like Dr. Seuss designed it, mind you.
But you’d better have motivations beyond profits and felling trees because it’s not going to be a cakewalk (What is a cakewalk anyway? Is it that carnival game where you spend ten dollars to win a buck worth of cupcakes?). You’d better be doing this for damn good reasons.
I think I am. That, or my last bike crash did more damage than I’m aware of.
Cadence Press was created to do nothing less than get everyone on bikes and reshape our communities in the process. (Cue the megalomaniac music, and someone page Donald Trump to see if he rides a bike yet).
The plan is to create books and media applications that inform, inspire, entertain and keep you rolling. Cycling can help save us from ourselves from an informational overloaded society, improve our health, build community, and make us feel ten years old again. I believe this to a degree that embarrasses me at times, but what else can I do? If the books I publish capture some of that in a lively way, then win, place or show, I’ll be contributing to the cause and fighting the good fight.
To that end, our first title is Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet by Mia Birk. Here’s the low down:
Two thirds of America’s energy needs are tied up in transportation. How we get around shapes our communities, our health and our future.
Americans dream big, but those dreams have gotten out of hand, expanding waistlines, sprawling communities, vehicles so large and thirsty that wars are fought to keep them running, oil disasters and an energy plan that heats everything up to maintain a way of life are just a few examples. Beyond the blame, America needs real solutions; lean, clean, game changing answers that put people on the road to health and energy independence.
America needs to go for a bike ride. With Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, the author/transportation expert helps them get out the door.
The book follows Birk’s 20-year crusade to integrate bicycling into daily life. With just a table scrap of funding, she led a revolution that grew Portland, Ore., into the number one cycling city in America. Birk then hit the road, helping create bike communities across the nation — even her hometown of Dallas, Texas — become more healthy, safe and livable. While many books extol the pain of the earth’s problems, Joyride offers hope and concrete steps for changing our world for the better.
Birk is the award-winning co-owner of Alta Planning + Design, the nation’s leading firm dedicated to creating active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and are normal daily activities. She is also the co-founder of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at Portland State University, and the Cities for Cycling Project of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. She was the Portland Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-99, and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Proceeds will support non-profit organizations that are working to creating a healthier, more sustainable world.
Our second title, which should be ready in time for the holiday 2010 season, will be the cyclist’s version of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if...” jokes called, You Might Be A Cyclist If... Examples include:
“You own more tights than a children’s theater production of Peter Pan.”
“You toss your comb and declare your helmet the winner.”
“Loved ones assign a separate hamper for your dirty bike clothes ... and put a hazmat label on it.”
It’s going to be a flip book — half of it written in a male voice, then a mandatory rest stop in the middle, then you flip the book over and the other half is in a woman’s voice. You Might Be A Cyclist If... is also coming out as a daily affirmation phone application. Each morning it will play a few bars of Queen’s “Bicycle Race,” followed by a quote from the book — “You might be a cyclist if ... you go into the shop for that new bike smell and a whiff of arrogance drifting up from the younger staff.”
Our plan is to put out three or four titles a year, targeting national distribution and working creatively with new media, e-books and bookstores, and marketing to outdoor and bicycling retailers in a way that is currently lacking, as well as doing direct sales to clubs and organizations.
I also want to be known as an author’s niche publisher, paying higher royalty rates than traditional publishers. A portion of all the profits from Cadence Press will go to various bike-centric non-profit organizations.
We’re also hosting a writing competition titled “I love bikes,” where participants submit their stories, possibly winning bike gear prizes in six categories, including a new bike to the overall winner, and the possibility to work with Cadence Press on a book contract. Cadence Press is currently accepting submissions and writing guidelines are posted on the website. Interested authors can contact me at metalcowboy.com/cadencepress.html.
The official launch of Joyride will be in October, but copies are on sale now and anyone can order it, our other books, and the Metal Cowboy backlist from the same website.
The mantra that there is no new frontiers on two wheels rings true sometimes, but standing over my pedals about to launch Cadence Press, I’m not buying it. Given a heartbeat and two wheels, anything can be new. The sweet spot arrives when you begin to forget. Lose the past and future by measuring things in terms of wonder versus miles, and pedal like your life begins and ends with every stroke.
If I don’t see you on the road, I hope you find me and the authors I publish in the pages of our books.