Call for Submissions: Our Bodies, Our Bikes, the book

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Update: Thanks to this project moving along at quite a slow timeline, the general call for submissions is extended until July 1, 2014.

The time has come. “Our Bodies, Our Bikes” was the fifth issue of Taking the Lane, and also one of the most popular. It sold out quickly and has long been out of print, but to this day much of the zine-related email I get is still about this issue. The idea of a compendium of knowledge about women’s health as it relates to bicycling struck a lot of people’s imagination. It sure struck mine. And now I want to turn it into a book, with even more awesome, comprehensive writing, art, and tips. Maybe by you.

It’s been on my wish list for a while to revise and expand the original zine and produce a book, much like we did this year with Kelli Refer’s (even more popular) Pedal, Stretch, Breathe. (Side note: Kelli contributed two panel drawings of bicycle yoga poses to the original “Our Bodies, Our Bikes;” I was so charmed by them that I asked her if she wanted to make more and the rest is history.) The book likely will include some (revised) content that’s already been published, either in Our Bodies, Our Bikes or in other issues of Taking the Lane, but will be mostly new. Like the book it’s inspired by, personal stories will be interspersed with factual essays. There will be a Kickstarter project eventually.

So here’s the official call for Our Bodies, Our Bikes, the book (clever and descriptive subtitle forthcoming). Please send your completed essays, rough drafts, or just pitch your ideas for essays, art, or personal stories at the intersection of bicycling and women’s health. Like the original zine, the book has space for expert treatises on technical topics, personal essays about experiences or ideas, brief quotations and anecdotes, recipes, bulleted lists, illustrations both technical and whimsical, comics, photographs, you name it. Topics to explore might include (but not be limited to) fitness, wellness, illness, injury, aging, adolescence, (dis)ability, body image, reproductive rights, sexuality, gender identity, economic issues, race and ethnicity, parenting, nutrition, menstruation…again, you name it. Contributions that reflect experiences of queerness, gender nonconformity, and communities of color are particularly sought. All contributions should incorporate both bicycling and health and be from a feminist (or at least non macho, non boringly stereotypical) perspective.

Submissions, queries, questions, and ideas should be directed to to elly at taking the lane dot com. Five hundred to 1,200 words is the sweet spot for this format, but submissions that are considerably shorter or a bit longer are also great. Art submissions should be single-color. Soft deadline is December 15th (that’s when I’d like to have a good idea of what might be in the book, so consider that a deadline for emailing me, not for writing a finished piece — final content deadline will be early next year). The book will probably come out in May or June 2014. The set-in-stone content deadline for submissions is now July 1, 2014.

Questions? Ask! I can’t wait to see what we make of this project.