In 2003 I was busy building my media relations and marketing business when I was contacted by Paula Holmes-Eber and Lorenz Eber: They had cycled tandems around the world with their 11 and 13-year-old daughters and they wanted me to help them get on the news in every town they cycled through on the last leg of the journey in North America. Even back then, before I raised two daughters of my own, it seemed like an amazing project. So I said, “yes!”. Suffice it to say they were one of my favorite clients.
Fast forward twenty years, and the Ebers are still riding. In fact, they biked from their home in Seattle down the west coast as part of a promotional tour for their new book, Breathtaking: How one family cycled around the world for clean air and asthma, published last summer by Falcon.
And this Sunday (May 7th) they’ll speak at the REI store in the Pearl District. If you’re looking for bike adventure inspiration, you should put this event on your calendar. Not only did Paula and Lorenz survive this trip with their young daughters, they lived to write about it! They have loads of family biking and camping advice to share and many stories to tell. They also completed their journey to raise awareness of asthma and funds for their nonprofit World Bike For Breath.
And there’s another book event this week: On Wednesday, former reporter for The Oregonian, George Rede, will have a conversation with author David Goodrich at Powell’s City of Books. They’ll talk about Goodrich’s new book, On Freedom Road: Bicycle Explorations and Reckonings on the Underground Railroad. Here’s the blurb on what sounds like a fascinating book and a great event:
The traces of the Underground Railroad hide in plain sight: a great church in Philadelphia; a humble old house backing up to the New Jersey Turnpike; an industrial outbuilding in Ohio. Over the course of four years, climate scientist David Goodrich rode his bicycle 3,000 miles east of the Mississippi to travel the routes of the Underground Railroad and delve into the history and stories in the places where they happened. He followed the most famous of conductors, Harriet Tubman, from where she was enslaved in Maryland, on the eastern shore, all the way to her family sanctuary at a tiny chapel in Ontario, Canada. Travelling South, he rode from New Orleans, where the enslaved were bought and sold, through Mississippi and the heart of the Delta Blues. As we pedal along with him, Goodrich brings us to the Borderland along the Ohio River, a kind of no-mans-land between North and South in the years before the Civil War. Here, slave hunters roamed both banks of the river, trying to catch people as they fled for freedom. We travel to Oberlin, Ohio, a town that staunchly defended freedom seekers, embodied in the life of Lewis Leary, who was lost in the fires of Harpers Ferry, but his spirit was reborn in the Harlem Renaissance. On Freedom Road (Pegasus) enables us to see familiar places in a very different light: from the vantage point of desperate people seeking to outrun the reach of slavery. Join in this journey to find the heroes and stories, both known and hidden, of the Underground Railroad. Goodrich will be joined in conversation by George Rede, veteran Oregon journalist and retired adjunct instructor.
In other book news, Seattle Bike Blog founder Tom Fucoloro has written a book! Biking Uphill in the Rain: The Story of Seattle from behind the Handlebars is due out this August from University of Washington Press and you can pre-order it here.