Welcome to the first issue of the Journal of Bicycle Feminism!
What is it, you might ask. It's a compendium of smart, well-curated writing about topics in bicycling from a feminist perspective.
The goal of every issue: To build the feminist bicycle revolution, together.
The first issue's theme is Grief and Healing. Writers take on the bicycle as a means for dealing with and overcoming loss, assault, and fear.
Here's what else it is: It's the grown-up, moved-out, bigger, bolder, and better version of what used to be Taking the Lane zine.
The back story:
Since 2010, I've put out 12 issues of Taking the Lane zine, more or less quarterly, accompanying by an ever-increasing number of side projects. Each one was funded on Kickstarter. Each one has its own topic and character. Some were long essays I wrote myself. Others were carefully curated and designed by guest editors. Others were enthusiastic conflagrations of essays on topics from childhood to disaster, work to religion to science fiction. The 13th issue was going to be a long essay that I could not get motivated to write, and the 14th issue was called Grief and Healing and was in the process of being edited and curated. Everyone was overwhelmed. The answer—grow, of course! But grow smart. Make it fun again.
Why make this transition? I've got to be honest: It's economics. Zines are fun. They are cool. They are an appealing and low-risk way to learn a craft and build a movement. But they are also just as much work as a book, cost three times as much to print, and sell about one fifth as quickly at less than half the price. I can't afford to keep making them. So books it is from here on out—and I've got to admit, that's one of the happier professional compromises I've ever needed to make.
Inside the first Journal
Here's what you'll find in our new, more sustainable and feasible book-format journal: Just as much (if not more) awesome content on interesting themes. Awesome production values—colorful books that feel great and look great. And best of all, smart contributors from across the burgeoning feminist bicycling community.
Anika Ledlow, our super intern of past years, masterminded what would have been the "Grief and Healing" issue of Taking the Lane, and her vision and touch are apparent throughout this first issue of the journal.
Cover artist Kenton Hoppas got in touch as we were thinking about making this transition, and his spirited art sealed the deal. His first draft was beautiful and on-theme, but too dark for either of us to stomach. Finally, thinking about the topic of grief, he had a breakthrough. "It all comes back to community and not being alone," he wrote, sending these joyous bike ladies. It's impossible to disagree.
Where the funding goes
Your backer dollars will mostly go to printing. A nontrivial but much lesser amount will go to postage and to processing fees. Money will also be spent buying envelopes, paying my friend Lauren to help with the shipping, and to that great mysterious entity Overhead. But most of it will go to the book manufacturer in Illinois.
Most of the rewards are books. Books galore! There are a few extras, including back issues of the zine, some coffee table books with pictures of ugly freeways, and yet more copies of the book.
We're also offering a product so new we haven't even seen them yet: magnets! These sturdy ceramic rectangular magnets have feminist-bike themes and are being manufactured as you read this in a factory in Franklin, Tennessee. Photos in the project updates!
A note about timing: I've listed February as the delivery date, but my goal is to get this project out the door and into your hands by the end of the year.
None of this would be possible without Kickstarter backers. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
This is the part where I usually talk about production scheduling hangups and the perils of early morning, pre-coffee print formatting.
But let's face it. The real challenge is—what if this format doesn't have legs? People liked the zine, I sold each issue at a steady clip, contributors had fun coming up with topics and essays, and a community grew up around it. It's been tremendously rewarding, and I'm honestly most nervous that it's the part that will be lost in the transition.
So I'll be working extra hard from here on out on the community building part of this whole operation—keeping in touch with you all, creating networks between you, expanding the vision of who decides what bicycling and feminism are all about anyway. Thanks for joining me in this!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)