I realized what makes the project of creating and promoting Cycling Sojourner worth it to me.
You, the readers.
At Bike Craft this December, many people came up to my table to tell me that they had already purchased Cycling Sojourner. One couple said that they had done their first tour because they had the guide. Another woman doted on the glorious time she had in the Cascades. Other folks talked about their excitement to do a second tour from the book.
This is exactly what I had in mind when I decided to grab my sparkling, perfect guidebook idea out of the sky and drag it into the hard copy world of deadlines, arduous hours, design debacles, scope creep, politics, and invoices. Not only did I want to inspire readers to try cycle touring, I wanted to make it easy for people to venture out on their loaded steeds because bicycle touring makes the world a better place.
Cycle touring brings significant, stand-alone benefits to local economies, mind/body wellness, and the pursuit of sustainability. Beyond that, at the heart of it, I wish for my cycling touring readers happiness and discovery.
For me, I’ve ridden out grief on tour as if anguish was the chunky chip seal disappearing under my tires and endlessly unfolding ahead me. I’ve meandered through natural places – like the Redwoods National Forest in California, Colle di Sampeyre in northern Italy, and Hells Canyon in Oregon – which transform pedaling into something more like praying. I’ve finished long cycling days that turned my eyes into weights inside my skull and rendered my guts hollow and body shucked. In exchange, I received tiny bread crumbs of self-knowledge (and good muscles).
Hearing folks talk about their experiences with the book at Bike Craft brought home to me that this project has been successful. As author and publisher, the day-to-day untangling of problems and solutions feels like the big picture. But it’s not. There are people out there actually going on bike adventures in Oregon, and that fills me to the brim with warm fuzzies.
That is worth it.
And thousands of people, many from the Pacific Northwest but also folks from all over the country and world, have purchased Cycling Sojourner. All the while, Travel Oregon and Oregon State Parks and Rec are going above and beyond to build and promote Oregon as a cycling destination. It’s movement in the right direction (all arrows to Oregon).
That is exciting.
But there is so much more to do. Oh, the possibilities. My next project itches on my typing fingers and makes my quads contract. Stay tuned.
So I’ll continue to pursue cycle touring/writing/publishing. You, readers, have pushed me over the edge. As your stories trickle in, they inspire me and feed my (sometimes) Golden Retreiver-esque enthusiasm.
Thanks for a powerful 2012.
2013 is going to be a good one.
And please send me your stories and photos. Love it!