…which I could conceivably end up calling
if no one talks me out of it.
Mechanicals, bonks, dogs, wrong turns, and bonus miles have delayed RIDE 3 since the submission deadline, and sometimes friends and family couldn’t find it on the GPS page, but it always knew it was out there pedaling.
The authors of RIDE 3 are:
Next of Kin
L. Nicol Cabe
Pearls in the Aftermath
All You Haters
He Rides Alone
Ang Lay Leng
Jay Gallera Malaga
My First Bike
Over the Rainbow
Bicycle and Me
In for Service
A Bottled Coke
And as always,
cover art by bicyclepaintings herself,
Congratulations to all who buy it and read them!
RIDE 3 will be out in time for the holidays, though not in time for “Holiday Bike Books” articles. To hear when it’s available (print and ebooks, both), follow @ridebikefiction on Twitter or subscribe to this blog.
UPDATE: ACCEPTANCES/REJECTIONS BY MAY 31, AND THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE
If you submitted a story to RIDE 3, you should have received a couple of update emails. In case you didn’t:
I received more submissions than I expected to (60–70, depending on how you count the poetry) at the same time as business and personal stuff both took over all my waking hours. As of today, I’m about 2/3 through the submissions.
I’ve been consistently wrong about when I would notify submitters, so rather than set up bad expectations, I’m just saying my waking hours have stabilized, and submission review is back underway and getting there. Very sorry for the delay—if I’d been willing to read your stories while sleep-deprived, I could have been a lot faster, but then you’ve have gotten email with the wrong story title in the subject line and a note that said it was great except I didn’t get the part with the monkey.
I know it’s been longer than expected. Thank you very much for bearing with me. It’s coming…
(And if you’re a submitter and have not received those emails, please let me know. Thanks.)
If you submitted to RIDE 3 and did not receive this email, please let me know.
Thank you for submitting to RIDE 3.
Submission response time is going to be longer this year, both because more submissions were received and because my book design business has grown, but I’m still the only one doing all the work. (I also learned from the previous two RIDE books that it’s a mistake to rush to hit a publishing deadline that I just made up in the first place.)
I’m aiming to get responses out by November.
Thank you again!
Editor, RIDE: Short Fiction About Bicycles
Last updated: March 23, 2013
Deadline: August 31, 2013
RIDE 3 will be published in print, as well as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and whatever other format seems like a good idea.
The only requirement is that a bicycle or bicycle subculture must feature prominently in the story.
Any genre, any gender, any length up to about 12,000 words, any setting, any country, any time period, any kind of cycling. The more diversity—of locations, cycling cultures, story genres—the better. Don’t look at the previous two books for an idea of what I’m looking for; all I’m interested in is the best eight or ten stories or poems I can find, regardless of genre or style—and there are plenty of genres nobody’s sent me yet.
LENGTH: While I will consider anything up to around 12,000 words, it’s easier to take a chance on shorter work—so if you haven’t published much, your odds are probably better with flash fiction than with a multilayered epic.
EDITING: If I don’t think it can be improved, I won’t give you any notes. If I do, I will.
PAYMENT: $75 above 4,000 words; $50 for 2,000-3,999 words; $20 for 1-1,999 words.
PUBLICITY: Please be up for minor publicity stuff, which shouldn’t involve more work than suggesting places where I can send review copies and participating in the recent “Three Questions” series at this blog.
DETAILS: Previously published is OK; previously unpublished is OK-plus. World rights must be available. If it’s at your blog, I’ll ask you to take all but a few teaser paragraphs down when the book goes on sale. Fiction and poetry only; no essays, no travelogues. Submit in Word or RTF, using standard manuscript formatting (Courier 12-point, double-spaced, 1″ margins all around).
Questions and submissions: noteon | at | mac | dot | com
DEADLINE FOR “RIDE 3” SUBMISSIONS:
August 31, 2013
Where to get RIDE 2
Taliah Lempert’s art in RIDE 2
When I was putting together the first RIDE (Print! Kindle! Nook! iBooks!), I got to the point where I needed cover art, and mused aloud on Twitter. Another #bikenyc cyclist said, What about Taliah Lempert? She’s right over in Brooklyn.
I hadn’t paid much attention to bike art at that point, but when I went and looked at Taliah’s site, my reaction was immediate: These!
So I wrote to her and asked, and she wrote back and accepted, and now she’s provided the cover and interior art for both RIDE books.
As well as the series emblem that appears on both covers:
Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a head tube badge.
I’m still experimenting with the interior art for the series. For the first RIDE, I gave each story its own mini-cover, with its own bicycle painting, plus a Lempert-created header on the first page of the story. When I got to that stage with RIDE 2, I was so busy with print and ebook work that I knew I couldn’t get the book done by year’s end if I waited until I had time to do the mini-covers again. It doesn’t take that much time to choose art for each story, crop, place, design, tinker, but even if it comes out to an hour per story, I didn’t have the day and a half to spare.
So the art side of RIDE continues to evolve. We’ll see what happens in RIDE 3 (call for submissions coming soon; deadline will be August 31).
Oh, and she sells STUFF, too. Go buy a mug:
Nigel Greene (“Passing Thoughts”)
asks three questions of
Nigel: You have a Masters in Fine Arts from New York Academy of Art and, it seems for the last 10+ years your work has featured bicycles. Why or how did bicycles become the focus of your art?
Taliah: Bicycles became the focus of my art when I started riding for transportation. Before then I mostly painted pictures of people. I bought a bike on a whim. It caught my eye, in front of a bike shop on Smith Street. I had not been thinking of commuting by bike but once I got one, I had to use it. Riding through the city was more awesome than I expected and the bike so beautiful. I became inspired!
Nigel: The gallery of your website shows a range of bikes: fixed gears, tourers, tandems, mixtes and children’s bikes, but I didn’t see anything that looked like a current carbon fiber racing bike. Is that an intentional choice and if so why?
Taliah: There are carbon fiber racing bikes. I can think of 5 without really looking. One was fresh from the pro peleton. I like the shapes that carbon can take. It is true that there are more steel frames, both in my studio and in the world. It’s not a conscious choice.
(Editor’s note: One of the things that really drew me to Taliah’s work is that while you can find racing bikes in there, she paints BIKES. Kids’ bikes, city bikes, bikes with dents, scratched bikes, bikes with questionable handlebar positioning…in that sense, her work very nicely reflected what I want to do with RIDE.)
Nigel: I like the contrast of the detailed images on simple, often monochomatic backgrounds. Is there a particular detail of a bike that you feel portrays its individual nature best?
Taliah: It depends on the bike. Different things stick out. Sometimes the drive or the seat… But I’d say that it is often the bars that show the most character.
Next (and last) up: Taliah’s three questions for SJ Rozan.
Where to get RIDE 2
Where to get RIDE 2
Nigel Greene’s poem in RIDE 2:
I didn’t go looking for this, but there are three randonneurs (ultra-distance self-supported endurance cyclists) in the pages of RIDE 2. I’m the least impressive of them, but what I lack in mileage, I make up for in…uh, book editing, I guess.
I first checked out Nigel’s blog because of the rando connection—we’d met on a couple of his early brevets—and kept reading it because he posts good stuff. In addition to “Friday Writings for Randos,” a regular literary excerpt that resonates with the exertions and rewards of randonneuring, even if there’s no bicycle in it, he posts accounts of his brevets, the odd lighting system review, stuff like that.
One day he put up a brief original poem about one moment on a training ride, and I went, “oo,” which is really my main criterion for story selections. But I wasn’t sure I was going to use poetry, so I just copied it into a text file and put it with the story submissions.
Turned out I did use poetry, and Passing Thoughts was the perfect last page of the anthology.
Jan Maher (“The Persistence of Memory”)
asks three questions of
Jan: Have you ridden continuously since you were a child on your first bi- or tricycle?
Nigel: Continuously? Hmmm. My first “ride” was a Big Wheel. I L.O.V.E.D. the Big Wheel. I’m pretty sure I still do. I was the right age at the right time and it was the right ride. The power slide with the hand brake. The furious pedaling of young legs. I wore holes in that wheel.
I have ridden continuously since then but not always under my own power.
After riding a bike through my teens, I rode a motorcycle for years—a 1972 BMW twin-cylinder that I rescued, rebuilt, then rode across country and into Mexico.
Then, when life became adult and the motorcycle had sat unridden for so long that it and I were no longer in the same place, I rediscovered the bicycle. Its subtlety, range of experience and variety spoke to me in words that I could hear and appreciate in the moments between thoughts. Its limits were my limits and on it, I could seek both.
Jan: How do poems occur to you? A word or phrase first that gradually accretes? All in a not-fell swoop? A picture looking for its caption? Or….?
Nigel: My piece in RIDE 2 is a “poem” but I am no poet. I just write stuff down and try to say it honestly. Typically, it’s all one fell swoop. I write my blog under the influence of the thing about which I am writing, be it a ride or whatever. I write about rides while my legs are still aching and before I have recovered so that one day when I look back on it, the words mean something because they arose from the thing itself.
Jan: Two parts to question 3: What is a question you would like to answer that I haven’t asked you, and what is your answer to it?
Nigel: Why do you blog about randonneuring?
I blog about randonneuring because every rando-ride is a once in a lifetime experience. It is big enough and bold enough and odd enough to merit a memory and a post. Try it—you’ll see what I mean.
Next week: Nigel’s three questions for artist Taliah Lempert.
Where to get RIDE 2
Where to get RIDE 2
Jan Maher’s story in RIDE 2:
“The Persistence of Memory”
I’ve tried to make it known, on social media, that I’m actively looking for stories outside the “racing hardman” genre, outside the male gender, and outside the straight-white-young-male genera generally. That’s not because I’m trying to avoid that kind of story—on the contrary; I’d love to get more of them—but because it’s harder for me to find the other ones. Post a notice for “bicycling stories” without saying anything else, and you’ll get stuff about young men racing.
But to most people who ride, bicycling isn’t about racing; and to most bicycles, what rests on their saddles aren’t the Lycra-cupped jewels of Vuelta aspirants.
So it was with absolute confidence in her muscle memory and abilities that Marie confronted her great-granddaughter’s bicycle, kept in the garage for Celia’s occasional visits. She’d been told she was too old to be on the road, and had her license taken away. Not by the state, mind you, but by her own child. Her son Matt had actually hidden it from her. He knew she was too crafty not to have a spare key, and he knew she was a stickler for obeying the law. Without that, she wouldn’t dare take her Hyundai into traffic. California had no problems with her abilities: they’d issued her most recent license good through her hundred-and-first birthday.
I don’t give preference to any genre or gender; my only hard-and-fast criteria are that a bike or bike culture be featured, that it holds together as a work of fiction, and that some definable thing about it makes me go: Yeah, this one! So I don’t bias toward non-white-male stories; but I do try get as diverse a submission pool as I can, and then pick the ones I like best from that. I don’t know how well it’s worked—I have no idea which of these stories I’d still have received if I’d just said “Bike stories wanted!” a couple of times, and left it at that—but five women and five men contributed to RIDE 2, and there’s one more female protagonist than male. (And to date, the youngest character has been seven, and the oldest—”The Persistence of Memory’s” Marie—is in her nineties.)
Diversity in every direction. Bicycles don’t care whose freedom they serve.
And just as a side note: I’ve never been sent a women’s racing story.
Jon Billman (“Dert”)
asks three questions of
Jon: I just taught my daughter to ride recently and could vividly relate to the opening of your story in a fresh way. What was your own experience in learning to ride?
Jan: The Christmas I was not quite seven, my sister and I wanted bicycles for Christmas. We’d been told in no uncertain terms that our parents couldn’t afford such extravagance, and steeled ourselves for cheaper, more practical gifts like sweaters and socks, yet there they were on Christmas morning. They were shiny and green, hers a 26”, mine 24”. I wanted training wheels, but my parents said I didn’t need them. I vaguely remember my father huffing and puffing, running alongside the bike till I got the feel of balancing it. I believe this must have been when I was first assured that once I learned to ride, I’d never forget how to do it. I have borrowed and tweaked these details for my story. We got an off-brand, not Schwinn; my father didn’t have the lung capacity to shout encouragement because he smoked too much; and it was undoubtedly my mother who scoffed at training wheels.
Shortly after that we moved to a rural area and I spent many long hours riding the dusty country roads, sometimes in the company of friends, but also often alone.
Jon: The title “Persistence of Memory” of course alludes to the Salvador Dali “melting clocks” painting. Dali was a big cycling fan and even did some graphics work for the Tour de France in the ’50s. Why do you think the Surrealists were so drawn to the bicycle?
Jan: I’m delighted to discover this about Dali, and must confess that prior to your question, I’d never given a thought to why Surrealists were so drawn to the bicycle. Thanks to the miracle of Google, I can, however, note that Dali wrote in his autobiography, “I should have liked the whole of France to get on to bicycles, everybody pedalling and dripping sweat, climbing inaccessible hills like impotent fools, while the divine Dali paints. Yes, yes, the Tour de France on bicycles produces in me such a persistent satisfaction that my saliva flows in imperceptible but stubborn streams.” I found this quoted in several spots, including this blog. I also discovered this bicycle blog, which offers several images of surrealist bicycles, including Dali’s “Sentimental Conversation.” “The Persistence of Memory” was not my first or even second working title for the story. It came to me after the story was written. I think the title appealed to me because, in addition to the way it recalls the old saw that once we learn how to ride, we never forget, it alludes to the melting, mangled shapes of post-crash bicycles. I note in my Google research that this is indeed a theme in the work of some Surrealists.
Jon: I certainly hope to be riding when I’m Marie’s age! What place does the bicycle have in your life as you mature?
Jan: The secret to bicycling for me at this point in my life is the mountain bike. Their wide tires are the bicycle equivalent of sturdy walking shoes. I try to go for a ride at least once a week when the weather permits and I’m in upstate NY, which is where my bicycle resides. I’m helped in this effort by my husband, who routinely commutes via bicycle and is happy to accommodate my very non-Marie pace in order to see me pedaling. I’ve had some hip alignment problems, and bicycling helps. I’d not ridden in decades when I bought my bicycle five years ago, and I’m happy to report that since then, I haven’t crashed at all. I know where the brakes are and I’m not afraid to use them.
Next week: Jan’s three questions for K.I. Hope.
Where to get RIDE 2
Where to get RIDE 2
Jon Billman’s story in RIDE 2:
One of the things I like about RIDE, and intend to continue, is its broad depiction of cycling. I’d love to get a terrific racing story—so far, in the first two anthologies: no racing—but no more than I’d love to get a knockout noir tale about a Chinese restaurant deliveryman, or a Regency romance on dandy horses.
Jon Billman’s “Dert” is about a missionary with a lousy attitude.
The Oklahoma Mission was a bicycle mission. The other missionaries called Oklahoma the devil’s snake farm, an annexed, lower-calorie Hell. Kim said, Of course it’s where the not-so-good missionaries went, oh well. “Anyone can witness Hawaii.”
Dad had pulled some strings just to get me here; I wasn’t married, wasn’t twenty one, wasn’t a model Sister if you dwelled on that cigarette-theft business, which some people did. “Dert is pointed down a rough road to the military if something doesn’t change,” I heard him tell my mother. What changed is that Dad made a sizeable donation to the Church.…
Keith Snyder (“The Rambler, Part 1”)
asks three questions of
Keith: A Liahona bicycle figures prominently in “Dert.” Where’d that come from?
Jon: I have quite a few friends who are returned missionaries and most have bike stories and tricks–like covering your frame in duct tape to camouflage the bike’s value and make it less likely to get stolen. I love this entrepreneurial endeavor: There’s a bike company in Salt Lake called Liahona. They spec bikes for missions in the way that clothiers out there offer packages–two suits, three shirts, two ties, socks, etc. The bikes are decent but not exceptional, but are available at Missionary Depot for one-stop shopping on your way out of town. And they come standard with chain guards so they don’t eat your slacks. The Liahona is a powerful, magical compass in the Book of Mormon so it’s the perfect name for a missionary bike.
Keith: How does writing Westerns and sports literature compare to all the articles you’ve written for OUTSIDE magazine?
Jon: Well, speaking of Utah, I’m currently writing a magazine feature about a fugitive/survivalist living in the high country near Zion. The catch is that he breaks into cabins and eats from the pantry, helps himself to the liquor cabinet and burns the firewood. He’s still up there, eluding the authorities, so there’s a sober energy to the project that I like. Current events appeal to me. In fiction I like the 19th Century more.
Keith: If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
Jon: Right now it’s cold and I just rode in on my bike so I’m gonna say my Jet Boil stove. That thing can make any situation bearable. It saved me and my buddy from hypothermia on a tour in Sweden last spring when it turned an envelope of powdered asparagus soup into the most exquisite meal on the planet. That’s magic.
Next week: Jon’s three questions for Jan Maher.
Where to get RIDE 2
Keith Snyder’s story in RIDE 2:
“The Rambler, Part 1”
It didn’t occur to me, when I decided to use this “Three Questions” game to say what I liked about each story, or why I’d chosen it, that I would eventually come to my own. Instead of telling you how great it is, I’ll tell you something I learned.
The first RIDE anthology (mumble mumble purchase mumble) was my first stab at being an editor and publisher. One of my mistakes was in sending Advance Reading Copies to reviewers when everything was almost perfect—except for my own story, a novelette called “Night Ride.” The cover did say UNCORRECTED PROOFS, after all, which people would know meant there was still some hammering and sawing going on, and I was thinking of the book as a team effort, which implied there was a team for me to take one for. People were trusting me, and if tasks had to fall undone before the ARCs had to go, it was only fair if most of them fell into the bucket with my own name on it. So I sent the ARCs out.
And then I minded.
Not as much, though, as I’d have minded being that guy who sends a string of “Wait, I uploaded a new version!” emails.. So I stuck Don’t ship the ARC before your story is as polished as all the other ones in the “lessons learned for next time” column, along with Don’t publish the ebook and the print book at different times and Don’t miss the holiday sales window.
Those last two…well, RIDE 3, I’ll do better. But “The Rambler, Part 1” was nice and shiny before the first review copies of RIDE 2 went out. And—yeah, it’s a poem. It rhymes. I was reading Chaucer in the tub on my iPad, and I saw that he was heavy on the plot and light on the closely observed moment, and I went I can do that! I can not observe stuff!
…up through Harlem, onto Broadway; picking
out his silhouette, they weave to follow,
sticking tight past Jimmy Jazz, Apollo,
Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Popeye’s Chicken,
toward the river, tires quicken
toward the bridge that goes to Jersey.
If he’s caught—there’ll be no mercy.
Barb Goffman (“Ulterior Motives”)
asks three questions of
Keith Snyder (“The Rambler, Part 1”)
Barb: In “The Rambler, Part I,” your rider is using his bike as a means of escape, literally. Have you ever raced away from someone on a bike, trying to avoid them?
Keith: I like to do these things called brevets, which are long-distance rides with proscribed routes and time limits. I’m also the CEO and OGH (Only Guy Here) of a book design company that grew from a fledgling business that sucked up all my time in 2011 to a big workload that sucked up all my time in 2012. So my last ride that went all night was in 2010.
Whaddayagonnado—I been busy.
But in 2010, I was severely underemployed and emotionally shredded, so I was riding longer distances. One was a 400K that went through the Pine Barrens at night.
The overnight portion of a brevet can be physically and emotionally difficult; you’re fatigued, it may have been a while since your last real food, you’ve had several imaginary but not entirely silent confrontations with the most obtuse people of your acquaintance, and your metabolic thermostat has sprung its coil. You can’t remember why you thought this was a good idea, your car is fifty miles away, and there’s no train and zero bars on your phone.
Brevet routes tend to be designed to put you on smaller highways and mountain roads as much as possible, both to reduce the number of cars you’ll encounter and because stoplights bleed your average speed more than you’d think. (Well, stopping at them does, anyway.) So depending on route, season, weather, and velocity—I’m slow—you can end up in unlit desolation for long stretches of time, able to see only as far as your headlight beam, utterly blind to the sides and rear. 4am isn’t just the best time for an army to attack, because the other army is at its worst; it’s also when a dirty, discouraged randonneur (or frozen, or drenched; we do this in all weather) can’t see the point of this anymore.
The Pine Barrens are a forest shot through with cranberry bogs. There are no streetlights because there is almost no night traffic, and there are no stars except those directly overhead, because the pine trees snuff them out on both sides of the highway. On this night there was no moon, either, and an overcoat of clouds over whatever stars had escaped the pine trees. I could see the highway in front of me well enough to think every stretching shadow was a pothole, but the portion of beam higher than the road didn’t do anything but collude with every reflective highway sign to blow out my vision and hint at an ever-moving wedge of distant black foliage.
But you can hear things in the cranberry bogs.
I don’t know species, so I classify them all by size. That soft crackling and crunching, very soft, everywhere, is the the local insect biomass stumbling over thousands of tiny twigs, falling off leaves, dropping into ponds. Briefer, more directional little snaps and dull creaks are your beefier bugs and possible birds. Next larger: definite birds—woodpeckers, the occasional confused rooster—and continuing up the size scale are your random small mammals, trotting coyote, bored, leaping deer, the isolated shapeless thing skulking across the highway.
And to my left, the deep, leathery flap of something huge in the air, rising off a dirty water surface. There’s a creek, or a bog, or a flooded ditch off the highway there, because the rising thing’s feet drag on liquid as its wings beat. It gains altitude ponderously, amassing momentum, its hot weight coming even with me, then rising above eye level—and my panic has flooded me with so much strength, I can barely get my fumbling fingers on the shifters.
Once identifiable as little rocks, gravel has become dim streaks beneath my pedals. I’m maintaining barely enough self-mastery to not flub a shift and grind my non-precision budget drivetrain. Hair surges on my neck and forearms—the luxurious wingbeat is closer, the dense black body gliding in the humid black air; my butt’s bouncing because I just outran my gearing. The highway floats ahead in a few dozen feet of bulbous gray light. A few inches behind my saddle, the floating glow of a deep red coal—the brightest taillight on the Internet—is beacon and rangefinder for anything that wants to strip my nerves from my meat.
There’s a deep bovine growl three feet from my ear, a hot snort on my cheek. I’ve just whimpered and my legs are spinning faster than the gears can accept, and I don’t know what gear I’m in, so I shove a shift lever in my blind panic, and there’s a cling! and a thrrrrrip!; my pedaling legs flail against nothing, and I understand that the chain has come off.
A single blast of warm air into my face and through my helmet vents, and thick leather wings and a whip tail clip the topmost antumbra of my headlight, as I grab my handlebars and fight to keep from crashing; I stutter-step with one foot a few times because I can’t remember how to unclip the other one and I stand alone shaking, the flashbulb impression of a massive bat ray still fading in my retinas, and up in the depth of night, something smashes the tops of the invisible pines.
Barb: Is there anywhere in the world you would like to explore on a bicycle but haven’t been able to? If so, where and why? And what’s holding you back?
Keith: There aren’t that many places I wouldn’t like to. In some alternate universe, I have no family and one of these. In that same universe, its bushings never fail, and my witty, self-deprecating accounts of adventures through a smorgasbord of terrains and cultures are the most fascinating things that happen near the onion dip at parties of A-list literati; but this never happens. So let’s just keep things as they are.
Barb: What’s your most embarrassing or funny biking story?
Keith: FCO (Failure to Clip Out) in front of Princess Grace of Monaco. She pretended not to see, but we both knew.
Like you’ve never read Chaucer in the tub on your iPad.