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Hanging Out at Bike Shops & Bookstores
By Chip Haynes
This piece first appeared in Mason's Wire Donkey Bike Zine.
CLEARWATER, FL. -- A short history lesson first: In the last 11 years, Iíve written over 1,200 articles for Mason St. Clairís Wire Donkey Bike Zine. Jim Joyce, editor of The Bicycle Exchange (www.bikexchange.com), subscribes to the Wire Donkey, and over the years he has preprinted, with Mason's blessing, some of my Wire Donkey articles on his web site . Now Jim has taken stories and drawings from 25 writers and cartoonists and put together a book: The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings. Iíve got five stories in the book, and as a contributor, I got to go do two book signings one recent weekend. I had never, ever done that before. It was cool.
Of course, after you say youíll do something like that, the panic sets in: What if no one shows up? What if no one buys the book? What if my head explodes like a watermelon at a Gallagher show? Will anyone even remember who Gallagher is? No worries. It went well.
My first book signing ever was at Chainwheel Drive, the bike shop closest to my home. I pedaled up there with The Lovely JoAnn, and we had a wonderful time. Iíve known Tom Jessup, the owner, for over 35 years, and he and his wife treated me like the royalty Iím not. She even baked cookies! People stopped by, both friends and strangers, we sold books and had a grand time. For the record, the first book signed at my first book signing went to Dr. Kenyon Daniel and his wonderful family (Lynn and Cam). Iíve long referred to Kenyon as my Super Hero Friend, and I mean that in ever sense of the word. The guy is beyond amazing. I am truly honored that he got my first signed book at that first event.
We caught up with friends and made new ones that day at the bike shop, and then it was on to the Borders book store in the local mall for a book signing on Sunday. It was a zoo, but the animals were friendly. It was two weeks before Christmas, and they parked me right by the front door. Man, did we sell books! Woo-Hoo!
Again, friends stopped by, but many more books went to total or near-total strangers. (No one left a stranger.) I signed books for the buyers, their brothers, their husbands, their kids. I answered questions about the book, bicycling, my bicycle (I brought one) and where the restrooms were. (Straight back--you canít miss Ďem.) It was almost three hours of non-stop fun that day, and both days were an absolute blast.
By the time I finished that second signing and packed the bike back up, I was ready for a quiet dinner and home. We had a noisy dinner and errands to run. Oh, well. Eventually, we made it home and I got to relax. Iíve got another book signing lined up for next Sunday, but hey--Iím an old pro at this stuff now!
So: A very special tip of the bicycle helmet to Mister James Joyce--the live one--for bundling so many of us up in his first book. Hereís hoping all of the contributors get to go out and do book signings and talk about bicycling to the world at large. Itís a great way to spend the afternoon--especially when you can pedal there. Iím glad I can do my part to make this book a success, and give bicycling a boost right here in my home town.
Whatís that? Oh--straight back. You canít miss Ďem.
To subscribe to Mason's Wire Donkey Bike Zine, contact Mason St. Clair at email@example.com.
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