It's been two years since I've been on the road with my bicycle and typewriter, and I have to say, I've missed those long, contemplative hours between towns, and the unexpected pleasure of finding instant home in the faces of the strangers I met.
But this coming July, I'll be riding and writing again, and I couldn't be more excited to bring the next incarnation of Type Rider to life. This time, the vehicle of choice will be a tandem bicycle, and I'll be joined by my partner-in-crime, Amy Tingle, as we cycle the back roads from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin for Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour.
Type Rider II is all about collaboration, creativity, and community. For this trip, we've linked up with Little Free Library, a Wisconsin nonprofit founded in 2009. The mission of Little Free Library is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Currently, the network includes between 10,000-12,000 of these tiny , and Type Rider II aims to build at least 20 new libraries during our 1,400-mile, 30-day tour.
Amy and I are honoring the work of Lutie Stearns, the original Little Free Librarian, who between 1894-1914 traveled solo through the wilds of Wisconsin to bring news, books and other reading materials to rural communities with little to no access. Piloting a horse-drawn wagon, Lutie delivered more than 1,400 of these "traveling libraries" over the course of 20 years, and through her work helped inspire the building of county-wide public library systems, many of which are still in place today. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lutie's retirement, and we are dedicating our journey to her.
For Type Rider II, we'll will be towing two typewriters behind us and writing poetry for the people we meet along the way. We will give these poems away as a keepsake of our trip, but keeping copies to include in a final book about the project, which will also feature photographs from the road, a journal of our experience, and profiles of some of the members of the communities we'll be visiting. We are inviting local and national poets, artists, musicians, and others to participate in the celebratory events at our stops and to donate books to the small community libraries we are inaugurating.
This is no small feat -- in miles, goals, or logistics -- but our hope is to connect the communities we visit through the libraries we'll help build and to inspire others to form creative collaborations to nourish the places they live. We'll be documenting our progress through our Type Rider II Facebook page as well as through our Kickstarter page. Our funding campaign ends March 5.
We hope you'll follow along!
Follow Maya Stein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mayapapaya
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