Friday, December 19, 2008

"STOP! Your are now surrounded by the Holiday Spirit!"

Yesterday was a really cool day for us- Not only was it Ipanema's Karaoke Benefit, but Bakers' Crust in Carytown held a customer appreciation day in which they asked people to bring books for Books on Wheels and it was a lot of fun enjoying drinks and food and whatnot. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well, so I didn't stay for singing Karaoke, but Ward made it til 1:30 am. What a trooper! But we did go Caroling right before that, so I still got some singing done and here are a few photos of us in the Holiday Spirit. It was fun. Again, thanks to everyone for their awesome support and cheers to local businesses who support local organizations! Richmond is such an amazing city... Anyone have photos from Ipanema?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Spring Tour least for now

Yes, we still spring break even though I am not in college anymore. Its just too much fun. Here is what we are looking for, or at least hoping for in March!

Books on Wheels Spring Break Tour 2008!
Friday March 13th: Greensboro, NC
Sat. March 14th: Athens, GA
Sun. March 15th: Pensacola, FL
Mon. March 16th: New Orleans, LA
Tues. March 17th: New Orleans, LA
Wed. March 18th: New Orleans, LA
Thurs. March 19th: or somewhere on the way to TX?
Fri. March 20th: Austin, TX
Sat. March 21st: Austin, TX
Sun. March 22nd: Austin, TX

and then we head home.. ..

We are open to suggestions for places, locations, stops, eats, or anything and all of this is subject to change based on booking, which I will most likely be working on until the minute we leave. Looking forward to being on the the road!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bike Sale and the end of our 2008 events! Goodbye to another year...

We got rid of quite a few bikes today and hopefully people were stoked on being able to pick up 5 dollar bikes. Thanks to the Clothes Rack, Anna and Mark, for having us, and everyone that came by this afternoon. We still have a few kids bikes if anyone is interested... picture of the inside of the bus pre-sale and then the parking lot. We love parking lots.

Anyway, we don't have anything planned for the rest of the year and more likely until our tour in March. I will post the tour dates and locations really soon, and then we can start filling in actual events. Heading down south again, chasing the warm weather. Thanks to everyone for an awesome 2008 for Books on Wheels!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mo' Talent

I got the honor of helping judge the Cutthroats/ Hell's Satan's First Talent Competition last night held at Gallery 5. Despite the unbelievably bad weather ( i never did dry off before leaving the show) the place was packed and the entertainment was incredible. Highlights included:
Julie singing "That's what friends are for", belly dancing while balancing a sword, double dutch,
Al's interpretive dance to Neil Diamonds "Coming to America", James as the "Great Flydini", and way more talent that involved some removing of clothes and some great dance moves. The event was really really fun and the cause was great- money being used to buy bikes for kids for the holidays. Yeah!!!! Can't wait until next year...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And we are done...

Ward and I got finished dropping off books yesterday to all the organizations we are working with for the holidays. Pretty miraculously, the weather was really really warm, and so nice for driving around and unloading books, and after two days of doing this, I arrive to the last stop in Church Hill and the bus breaks down. Or more accurately, will not start anymore.

At least we are finished and its not too much of a headache right now, but it was only two months ago that we got the transmissions repaired and now we have more problems. I got the bus towed out of Church Hill back to its home, and hopefully it will stop raining long enough to try to take it into the shop. Thanks again to everyone that helped us again, it seemed like people were pretty stoked about our donations. These are the fine organizations that we dropped books off with this season:

Richmond Friends of the Homeless
Clark Springs Elementary School
Bon Secour Health Systems
Richmond Early Childhood Development Initiative
Jackson-Fields Homes

The bike sale is still Saturday at the Clothes Rack unless the weather stays like this, then I don't know what the plan will be....maybe we will hold the sale inside the bus. Who knows.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We have tote bags!

We have totes! For carrying stuff!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Books on Wheels Parking Lot

It is not particularly the best day to organize paper into cardboard boxes when the wind is so extreme that it is painful, but we picked the date, not the weather, and so we worked through the painful cold, and i must say that i am AMAZED by the people who came out and helped work this afternoon. We can't thank you enough for donating books and organizing. We are really really amped to give these books out in the next week! And come by our bike sale next weekend at the Clothes Rack. . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Books on Wheels Karaoke!

YEAH! You should definitely come to this awesome benefit:

Karaoke Night to Benefit Books on Wheels
Ipanema Cafe
Thursday 18th of December
$3 suggested donations and bring books to donate
Starts at 10:30 pm

This is directly after we get done Christmas Caroling, so our voices will be nice and warmed up. Ward is really good at singing Rainbow Connection. He sounds exactly like Kermit the Frog!!

Watch This! Books on Wheels featured on Mashup!
Features Books on Wheels discussing the Book Drive and Volunteer Day coming up this Sunday!! Come hangout with us!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Fun!

We are getting ready for our holiday events, so today i took tabs on what we had as far as bikes for our bike sale. A few good bikes, which will hopefully be helpful to some folks. We are more than happy to take bike donations now, and i will be working on bikes this weekend and for the next two weeks getting ready for the sale. Let me know if you want to hangout in the cold and work on small bicycles outside. It's really really fun. here are some photos of our bike piles...

November's Really Really Free Market: Saturday the 29th

Richmond's Really Really Free Market is happening again soon!
Check it out if you are around this weekend!

Saturday November 29th.
Noon til 5
Monroe Park
Corner of Main and Laurel
804 300 0023
www. myspace. com/rvafreemarket

Friday, November 21, 2008

New email address

Wow, things are so exciting around here that writing about or new email address is big news. Due to the difficulty of the massive amounts of m's and o's in mobookmobikemobile, we have changed our email address. It will now officially be

But i will keep checking the other email forever, so no worries. Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bike Sale! $5 each!

Since we don't have a specific place to donate our bikes to this holiday season, we have decided to hold a bike sale, and sell everything for 5 bucks, so we are encouraging poeople to come out and get a bike for someone they know, a family member, neighbor, that might not be able to get one for the holiday season or that really needs one to get around on all the time.

Saturday December 13th
The Clothes Rack
2618 W. Cary St.
12-4 PM

Oh, and books will be free still, so grab an arm load of those as well to give out or keep for yourself to read over the winter!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Book Drive and Volunteer Day: December 7th

The holidays are coming up and we would like to do a few things to prepare:

1.Organize our books
2. Donate books to local charities
3. Donate our bicycles to local charities

And we could use a little help! On Sunday December 7th from 12-4 pm Books on Wheels will be in the Ukrop's Parking Lot in Carytown (3255 W. Cary St.) organizing our books to donate to local charities and taking any book donations that people have. What we are asking of people is this:

If anyone knows of any local charities that want loads of books or children's bicylces (or a few adult bikes) PLEASE contact us!! We have a bunch to give this season

If anyone would like to come out and help organize the books to donate, PLEASE come hangout on this Sunday. We promise smiles, maybe some hot drinks,good conversation, and lots of cardboard boxes.

If anyone has any books to donate, this would be a great time to drop them off with us! Or, as always we take donations all the time at Chop Suey Tuey in Carytown (across the street from the Byrd Theater) during their open hours

If anyone wants to come say hi, check out the buses (both with be there), buy a t-shirt, or just stand around in a cold parking lot on your day off, you are more than welcome!!!!

We are really excited about this event!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Project Homeless Connect in Richmond

This is a great organization that we worked with last year. I couldn't make the event, but Ward and a friend went and said they were able to give away a bunch of books and fix some bikes for some folks.

"Project Homeless Connect matches clients with volunteers in a one-of-a-kind partnership to assist chronically homeless adults connect to as many on-site services as possible in one day.
To do this more than 40 service providers move their operations to a single location for a day, providing dedicated healthcare, dental and vision screenings, mental health interviews, case management, social security applications, identification services, employment resources (including for veterans), shelter and housing assessments, and much more. Volunteers are trained to assist clients navigate the array of services based upon priorities established by the client. The goal for the event, and its high level of volunteer involvement, is to eliminate some of the barriers people experience as they seek to access the very services that might help them start the return journey to stable lives."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

Since my camera is dead I can't take my own photos, and Books on Wheels has been kinda quite for a few months, my stories are minimal and my pictures borrowed for now, so I have moved onto Shameless Self-Promotion just to put something up here every few weeks or so. Erin and I were featured in Style Weekly last week, and Books on Wheels is mentioned, so since I'm running low on material and blogging can be narcissistic sometimes anyways (that's a joke if anyone is offended), here's the article:

Erin and Shelley Briggs, 26
Owner, Richmond ReCycles
Pharmacist, Kroger

Community Activist and Co-Founder
Books on Wheels

Yes, they do have a bicycle built for two, and yes, they have been known to ride together, but twin sisters Erin and Shelley Briggs have found divergent paths to bring their twin passions for community and bicycling to life.

The sisters came to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, pursuing very different educational goals — Shelley for social work, Erin for pharmacy — and found a shared hobby in bicycling. Living in the Fan, Erin says, bikes presented “the easiest way to get around Richmond.”

For Erin, transportation had become a passion and a way of raising awareness — first with a 2005 fundraiser promoting breast cancer awareness. Then she founded a nonprofit and opened a bike shop with partner Evan Venditti. The shop, Richmond ReCycles, focuses both on returning old bikes to new and on teaching riders how to keep their bikes on the road.

Not to be outdone, Shelley took a slightly different route on her bike but still ended up doing wheelies around the basic theme of community service.

A co-founder of Books on Wheels (with previous Top 40 recipient Ward Tefft), Shelley and her partner rev up a beater-school-bus-turned-mobile-community-outreach-project and take their show on the road, getting bikes to low-income people and teaching them basic mechanics to keep them going. The point, Shelley says, is to help people whose most basic need is transportation to get to and from work.

“Bikes — for a lot of people it’s their only way to get around,” Shelley says. “It’s very empowering to be able to fix things on your own.”

Though they do their own things, the sisters’ interests and public-service projects sometimes become a tandem affair. Erin recently traveled to New Orleans on a Books-on-Wheels bus mission. And when Shelley needs parts to put used bikes back on the road to usefulness, she goes straight to Erin for help.

“Richmond as a whole and our tight-knit friends has really influenced what we’re doing now,” Erin says. “It’s a matter of what you like to do and how far you think you can take it — and making sure it’s really fun.”

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bicycle Repair Workshop at the Richmond Zine Fest

Located the the Gay Community Center next to Diversity Thrift, the Richmond Zine Fest is next weekend, held on October 11th from 11-5 pm. I will be teaching a bicycle repair workshop on anything that anyone is interested in, so show up with your bikes and/or questions!! This will be fun!!

Books on Wheels on VCU TV

Our friend Alex produced this show on VCU TV about Chop Suey Books, and he was also nice enough to do a section of the episode on Books on Wheels. Check it out here:
- Shelley

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Books on Wheels featured in Momentum

Books on Wheels – free books and bike repairs, too

My friend Ward and I started Books on Wheels in January 2007. We drive around in a bus and give away books and do free bicycle repair. The bus is called the “MobookMobikeMobile.” It is filled with books, bicycle parts, and tools. Our mission is to promote literacy and alternative transportation. We provide our services to anyone, but we concentrate on working in low-income neighbourhoods.

I had been working on bikes for a few years, and always liked the idea of mobile bicycle repair, since people who really need their bikes probably don’t have another way to get to a shop. I was in a car accident in January 2007, and left with a settlement cheque. I figured I would buy a bus and try it out.

Ward and I were hanging out at my house one day soon after this, and he noticed I had circled a bus in an auto magazine. I told him what I was thinking, and he said he had always wanted to have a bookmobile. Ward owns a used bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, called Chop Suey, and always has plenty of books. We agreed to split the cost and bought the bus the next day. We gutted it, painted it, and started asking for book and bike donations.

We get every type of book, but mostly children’s books, which is perfect because those are always the ones in highest demand. The majority of the books are taken to schools that are poorly funded and without a lot of books.

We do bicycle repair at our events. We set up anywhere: parks, street corners, restaurant parking lots. We park the bus and unload our bike stands and tools. We decide on locations based on where people we know live or work and can put posters up in the neighbourhood to let people know where to bring their bike on a certain time and date for repair. The most common type of repair is flat tires. After that, people always need brake work.

check out:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Urban Velo #9 out... check it online

Yeah! Check it out at
Should be available in print at Re-Cycles soon for only three bucks. Or order one online. Thanks to Brad and Jeff at Urban Velo for this. We are stoked!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Free Market at Monroe Park... Last Saturday of every month from now on

Wow this picture sucks. My camera is obviously about to crap out. But, a bunch of people were out this afternoon for the really really free market in Monroe Park, that will be held there on the corner of Main and Belviedere from now on on the last Saturday of every month.

Had a gentleman again comment on the use of a chainbreaker, saying, "Damn, I still do it the old way with a screw driver and a hammer. Tryin' to fix the chain and get the bike working, but ya hit your hand a few times and you end up just saying 'Fuck this bike'."


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Richmond Zine Fest: October 11th

It's still a while from now, but the zine fest last year was awesome, so save the date.
Here is whats going on:

"The 2008 Richmond Zine Fest will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2008, from 11am to 5pm at the Gay Community Center of Richmond, at 1407 Sherwood Ave. The event is free to the public. There will also be free coffee on hand, and (vegan) food will be available for purchase at a small price.
The 2007 Richmond Zine Fest featured 45 vendors from all over Virginia and the US, two workshops, and readings by noted zinesters Ariel Gore and China Martens. Over 250 people attended last years zine fest, which was spread out on two locations on the 1600 block of West Broad Street.

What's a zine fest exactly? A zine fest is a gathering where zine creators, small comic, small press creators and zine distros come together to sell and/or trade their creations (the choice of whether to sell their zine or trade it is up to each individual zinester. Distros generally have to sell zines because they're beholden to other zinesters whose zines they are selling). There are workshops concerning zines and other DIY skills or matters, as well as zinesters reading from their zines or books. Zine fests are also open to the public".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lady with a beard

This article was written in Summer '07 and is awesome, but I can't help but laugh that the author kept refering to Ward as a lady. I'm not sure if it was an editing mistake or not:

"Standing next to their Mo'Book Mo'Bike Mobile, ard Tefft and Shelley Briggs, co-founders of Books on Wheels, hope to bring information about literature and transportation to communities across the U.S.
Books and bikes? While it may seem like an unlikely combination, two activists in a '70s style mini-bus are taking their cause national.
The multi-colored bus that houses Books on Wheels was on Penn's campus last Sunday at Saint Mary's Episcopal Church for a community event called Bike Church.
Books on Wheels is a non-profit organization that distributes books and bicycle parts throughout the country at community events free of charge. The mission of the organization is to increase literacy and access to transportation in economically disadvantaged communities.
Books on Wheels was founded by Ward Tefft, owner of Chop Suey Books and Shelley Briggs, co-founder of Spokes, an organization that specializes in bicycle repair. Together, they combined their specialties to plan two East Coast tours.
"Our goal is to hand out as many books as we can to spread literacy, give people access to good literature and knowledge about repairing bikes," Tefft says.
Venues for Books on Wheels include cafes, recreation centers, after school programs, churches and festivals in cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Va., Rochester, N.Y., Chicago and Worcester, Mass. Among the most memorable events for Tefft and Briggs was their excursion to Baltimore in early July.
"Baltimore CSAFE rec center was one of the most rewarding experiences for me. It was a cookout and small bock party over there. They helped us do two bike events where we repaired around 20 to 30 bikes," Tefft said.
Philadelphia events have also been well-noted by Tefft and Briggs.
"Going to Philadelphia is great. This [Bike Church] is one of the biggest bike projects we've been to. A lot of people show up and everything is so well organized," said Briggs.
However, this organization was not always the large-scale, national project that it is today. Books on Wheels took a grassroots approach - starting in Richmond and eventually branching out to surrounding areas.
"We really had no expectations in starting this project. And the overall experience has just been amazing to me and more that we ever expected. It's overwhelming how many people came out and supported us," said Tefft.
Tefft added that she finds the whole venture personally rewarding.
"From this, I have learned how needed this is," she said. "It's been really helpful for many people. We hope to inspire other people to do projects like this."

Urban Velo

Books on Wheels is going to be featured in the next issue of Urban Velo, here's a sneak. It will be available free online as of the 1st, and then published for 3 bucks. Check it out:


Ward noticed this a long time ago and i hadn't thought of it until this afternoon while i was sitting at the mechanics, waiting to get a diagnosis of whats wrong with the little bus. Etched into the the key for the little bus is "SPOT"; Ward figured it was the name of the bus by the previous owner, Buzz, who ran a river rafting business and used the buses to haul people up and down the James. Today I noticed that the key for the big bus says "BOB". Its weird because I can't imagine calling them anything else that "Moby" and "Deez", but I love that they had names before we had them, like they're kids or something. Really big kids.

I'm going to check on the bus right now and find out whats up. Greg at Paradise Garage is awesome, go see him on Allen St. for your car repair needs. He thinks its an electrical problem with the bus not knowing when to shift because some wires may be disconnected.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Really Really Really Free Market: August 30th in Monroe Park

Books on Wheels will be at the Really Really Really Free Market on Saturday August 30th giving away free books and doing free bike repair. Not sure how much stuff is going to cost, but it should be a good time. Yeah! All day and open to everyone.

Here is what the market is all about:

"The premise behind the fo' real free markets is that this country is being swallowed by an excess of STUFF. Being a capitalist society, we are bombarded with messages every day that the sheer amount of things that we own is equal to the amount of success that we have had in our lives. And with all this excess of ownership, there is also a quickly-increasing and vast amount of WASTE. We know we've all done it- taken that one thing, barely used, and since we don't feel like taking a trip to the thrift store- whoops! Into the garbage can it goes.Sometimes it might be something that you think is useless - torn jeans, old cigar boxes, scrap lumber, a half-used bag of unmixed cement, packets of flower seeds that you'll never plant because you just don't have that green thumb - the point is, what is useless to you may be exactly what someone else in your community needs.The fo' real free markets (based on Really Really Free Markets []) provide people with a chance to share the excess that they possess, to prevent the landfills from filling with stuff that will never decompose and is nowhere near the end of its usefullness, and to offer the community a chance to come together for a day of free fun in the sun!So the next time you hear about a free market, bring your music, your skills, your stuff, your food, and your friends and family, and help us prove that there is enough stuff in the world for everybody!Because there is enough for everyoneBecause sharing is more fufilling than owningBecause corporations would rather see landfills overflow than anyone get anything for freeBecause scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economyBecause a sunny day outside is better than anything money can buyBecause "free trade" is a contradiction of termsBecause no one should have to do without food, shelter, entertainment, and community"
Look for info here:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Getting back in gear

Taking the bus into the shop on Tuesday to find out about what the cost will be to get the transmission repaired. Keeping fingers crossed that its not too messy. This time of year would be perfect for us to be holding a bunch of events since its not crazy hot and the kids are about to go back to school. Hopefully we can get back on the road soon... We need to hold events! I can't even tell you how many times we have had to cancel with people this summer because of bus problems or scheduling or something, and it's hard to not show up and not be a consistent organization, even though there is not a lot we can do about it anyway. Its sad, but I'm insistent on getting moving again. Apologies to everyone that we couldn't work with over the summer- don't give up on us. We will be back in action soon.

In other news, I got older this week. I'm no longer in my mid-twenties. I have moved into the category of mid-to-late twenties. Ward's beard is coming in well as he prepares to move. Don't forget to go by Chop Suey (the original) before you never can again- I'm pretty sure Ward is having a pretty sweet sale right now as he gets ready to move.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Best Friends Day 7 this weekend

Although the buses won't be making any real appearances at BFD this weekend, except that the big bus lives at the Bike Lot where the Sunday event is being held, its a fun weekend and anyone is invited to come join in the festivities. Ward and I will be busy with this until Monday- looking forward to some good times. Check out all the details for the weekend at:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The book boxes

We haven't done a lot lately, and one of those things is filling up the book boxes that are out on Broad St. located at 9th and Broad and 2nd and Broad. The boxes are old newspaper boxes that now function as a source for free books for anyone. I try to go by a couple times a week to fill them up, and amazingly they always empty immediately. A lot of times I don't even get a chance to unload the books into the boxes before people are scrambling for them. But with the small bus out of commission for now, and there is no way I'm driving the big bus in mid-afternoon Broad St. traffic, thought i would write stories about my visits to fill the boxes in the past:

Upon arrive to fill up the book box outside of the market on 2nd and Broad st., where a bunch of people tend to congregate during business hours, a guy proceeds to keep the box door open as i shoved books in, a proudly screams over and over : " READ A BOOK, (explicate word)! READ A BOOK (explicate word)!" to everyone on the corner to promote the newly arriving literature. It was quite a site.

A guy at the bus stop at 9th and Broad told me as i was filling up the book boxes that his favorite day is any day that the bookmobile comes by and fills up the boxes.

A woman at 2nd st. told me not to be afraid to come by every day and fill up the boxes, with confidence that possibly i wasn't coming by every day due to intimidation. It was quite a wonderful tactic of convincing through this challenge: " Now don't be scared to come by here everyday. its ok, just come on by and don't worry about stopping any time".

A guy asked me if we had any free cell phones in the bus.

And the top half story:
I went to fill up one of the book boxes and as I'm loading in books, a city bus stops next to me and the driver opens the boor. I figured she was going to make a comment about how i had stopped in the bus lane and that i should move my car so she could pick up her passengers, but instead she says, " You're top half is hanging out", and shes laughing at me. Confused and distracted by my task at hand, i kept shoveling books in while asking her, "What? What?".

The bus driver repeats herself and tells me i need to fix my shit before i cause an accident. It finally registered she is talking about my butt crack. I stood up and adjusted my pants, laughing my top half off as she drives away.


Jonny Z festival Pics Part 3

Thanks to the wonderful bookmobile guy, Phil , for these photos. And check out his blog at:

Jonny Z festival Pics part 2

Thanks to Tess for sending the link to her photos: