Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A drawing of the bus

Sometimes I even amaze myself

This was a first for me.

I was working on a bike a few weeks ago that a guy had brought to us while set up outside of a community center. He had a good looking bike, and he said he really only needed a little tune-up, maybe some break adjustment, and that his gears were not shifting completely, so he wasn't able to shift into the highest gear. I threw the bike up on the stand and began working on it, and after some tinkering with the rear derailleur, I got the gears to shift properly. Deciding to check one last time that my work was done, I shifted from one gear to the next, watching the chain jump up; then I hear a "snap" and realize I have broken the shifter before even looking at it. I knew it was a big problem; I didn't have one to replace it, and when the plastic breaks on these things, there is no putting it back together.

I explained to the guy what happened, apologize profusely and feeling like a real idiot, because, for the first time, I had manged to makes someones bike WORSE than how they brought it to me. At least before the worst I had done was not being able to improve it. And I forgot to bring a bike pump to this event. Needless to say, I did not pat myself on the back at the end of the day.

Friday Night Bike Ride! 6 pm at Monroe Park!

Here is what the bike ride is going to look like for Friday night! It sounds like fun, and involves free things so it can't be all bad. The ride will end with two wonderful options of things to do on a Friday night in RVA, check out the posters for details, or visit: http://blaaahg.tumblr.com/

Don't forget your helmet!:

"What a busy Friday Night Richmond youth is going to have. When you get off work that day, know that tonight is going to be good. Anyone who still has a love for the summer, parties, and mayhem, is going to love August 1st. So, once you get off work, put some air in your tires, get your buddies together and ride your bike to Monroe Park (to the corner of Laurel & Main) for a sweet ass bike ride through the city with give-aways and prizes.

The route: 1.Start at Monroe Park 6:0pm, and head up Main St. all the way to Lombardy. 2.Take a right on Lombardy and head to Broad St., take a left on Broad St. 3.Take Broad St. to Boulevard and take a left on Boulevard. 4.Take Boulevard to Ellwood Ave. and turn right. 5.Take Ellwood Ave. to Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market and meet up in the parking lot. Here you are gonna get drenched with FREE Ice Cold Vitamin Water to quench your thirsts, hooray for Vitamin Water and corporate sponsors. Once everyone is ready, ride through the parking lot and the Vitamin Water van (which has exterior speakers) will escort the riders down Carytown and Cary St. 6.Take a left on to 2nd St. and take 2nd st. to Broad St. 7.Turn left on Broad St. and ride through the First Friday’s Art Walk. 8.Turn right on to Henry St and ride over to Leigh St. 9.Turn right on Leigh St. and end at the City Park, or end wherever you want".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Website!!!

Thanks to our friend Mike Ball, our old website is gone and we know have a new website that actually has information on it! YES!! Our address off of the information superhighway is still http://www.bookonwheels.com/. Check it out! And check out other stuff by Mike Ball @ http://www.mikeball.org/

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Books on Wheels at Bizarre Market: Saturday August 9th: Joe's Inn

From Ward:
Hello Friends and Comrades, Artists and Artisans, etc.-

On Saturday, August 9th from 11-4, ART 180 will be holding
their Festival for Jonny Z, a street event celebrating not only
the life and achievements of our dear, late friend Jonny Zanin,
but also the art and change that his amazing life is still inspiring
within our community. This event will take place outside of
JOE'S INN (205 N. Shields). As you might know, an ART 180
class has already painted a mural on the side of the building.
The class was funded by donations sent to ART 180 after
Jonny Z passed away last year, and the students were taught
about Jonny and the art aesthetics that he appreciated. This
event will be an official unveiling of the mural project.
Because Jonny was a Bizarre Market organizer, the folks at
ART 180 asked that the Bizarre Market set up in front of JOE'S INN as part of this celebration. Anna Virginia and I
agreed, so now we are soliciting your help in spreading the
word to artists, crafts people, and potential customers. As
with all Bizarre Markets, this will be open to everyone with no
cost to set up. We will ask that all vendors donate 10% of
their sales from the day to ART 180.

If you have anything to sell, or know someone who does, please
drop us a line. And please remember that this Bizarre Market
will be in front of JOE'S INN, not outside of Chop Suey. Anna
and I are nervous that some people will go to the bookstore out
of habit.

Another important change is that we will not be allowing food
vendors to set up. This shouldn't create a problem, as Joe's will
be open and serving food, and the market across from the
restaurant will have snacks and drinks.

The worst

I am seriously not trying to be negative because that's stupid and 99% of our events are amazing and so great, but Ward and I were talking about this last night for one reason or another at trivia night at Cous Cous, having a laugh before our team "Team Wolf Too" lost, which wasn't as funny. We decided this particular event was Books on Wheels "Worst Event Ever" to date.
Last summer we were scheduled to set up at a local Richmond Library, and I honestly can't remember which one The library has a huge parking lot and is surrounded by a huge amount of grassy lawn, and there is one big tree in the front, no where near the library, parking lot, or sidewalk. The library was also located on a really busy street with nothing around it so people are driving like 60 mph and no one at all is walking down the sidewalk in any direction. Ward and I go in and tell the librarian that we are there; she couldn't care less about our arrival. She just sort of shrugged her shoulders and carried on with her business.

We head back outside and decide to set up underneath the tree to get some shade, so we drag the books and tools out of the bus and across the grass, which is probably a 30 yard distance. We set our sandwich board on the sidewalk, out of the way of the pedestrians that weren't walking around, and had a seat, waiting to serve the public . After about 45 minutes of absolutely no one coming by or any even going into the library, a car pulls up to the side walk, and a woman gets out of the passenger seat. I get up and walk towards the car, preparing to explain to her what we are doing and encourage her to take some books, when she cuts me off and says, "You can't have you board here. You have to move it off the sidewalk. Its city code". I look over and notice that her car has the Richmond City emblem on it and she must have been the official "sandwich board sidewalk clearer". My jaw dropped, and like always, my brain didn't react before she was back in the car and they were driving away. I walked back to Ward, said a few bad words, and we both said "fuck it" and packed up and left, not even bothering to let anyone know we were leaving 2 hours early. It didn't seem to matter because the only two people who knew we were there didn't care that we were there and didn't want our shit on the sidewalk. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Richmond's Finest

The cops in Richmond have been busting people for not having bicycle lights for a while now. In the city, it is required that to ride at night, you need a front light, so all that on-coming traffic can see you. You are not required to have a rear light, so when you are riding with traffic, which is safe and highly recommended ALL the time, cars behind you can't see you, unless you happen to be wearing some crazy hyper color shit. Anyway, this is a new one I heard last night; a buddy got pulled over at 3 in the morning for WRECKLESS DRIVING on his bicycle for riding without this hands on his handlebars. Wow. And then the cop had the audacity to tell him that they were overstaffed for the night and really cracking down on everyone. AND THEN the cop refused to give him a ride and made him walk his bike home fifteen blocks in the middle of the night!

I am amazed. I can't wait to see the news tonight and see how many crime stoppers are asking for help since the Richmond police for some reason weren't around when 4 people got shot and countless robberies occurred. It's because they are busy kicking people out of the public park behind my house in the middle of the day for sleeping and telling my friend Anna that when a dude flashes her outside of the store she works in that she shouldn't worry, "he's a local". Ahhh, Richmond's Finest.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Benefit for James River Trails: July 25th

Richmond- MORE Mountain Bike Club
is hosting a benefit at Capital Ale House
to raise money to repair the trails
along the James River.
It will be held on

Friday July 25th from 9 pm- 2 am
7th and Main (Downtown)
Check them out at:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Engraved on this donated bike...

"Ted Fishback Steal me Bastard"

Ward's Beard

Its hot outside, so I'm avoiding taking apart old bikes by sitting around writing stories. He is one about Ward:

Ward’s beard was such an essential part of our travels, mostly because it was the first time that I had known him to have a beard since we had been friends, and a beard of
such amazing stature. His face and neck had become engulfed by this salt-and-peppered beard hair, immediately making my 36 year old friend look 70. I didn't like the beard, and couldn’t understand how he could stand so much hair in the middle of summer, driving around in the hot bus, but he said it didn't bother him. At one point, outside of our friend Robert’s house in Brooklyn, I have Ward a beard cut, or a “trim job”, in which I removed a good two handfuls of hair, and his appearance did not change at all. You couldn't even tell I had cut any hair; the fuckin' beard did not look and less massive.

The best thing about the beard was how intensely people reacted to it. People (and by people I mean grown-ass-men) LOVED that beard. Our interactions with people were littered with questions about how long he has been growing his beard, while these guys stoked their chins self-consciously, obviously envious of Ward’s accomplishment, as though he did more than just NOT shave for a long time. In Rochester, while walking town the street with two other girls and myself, Ward got catcalled by this dude who was frantically honking his horn. As we turn to look, already annoyed in assuming this guy was going to say something crude to the ladies, he excitedly shouts, “SWEET BEARD!”.
Ward was delighted, and I was not entertained by the encouragement he was receiving to keep his beard any longer.

He finally shaved his beard in October, after about six months, and only because our Halloween costumes for that year required it. We went as the cast of "Windy City Heat", Ward being Mole, myself as Don, Tony as “Scary” Perry, and Erin as Bobcat Golthwait. Erin kept the removed beard hair in a vase, which looked disgusting, but came in handy when an Internet misconnections site had a posting months later offering money for the beard if it was still around (it was a joke posted by a friend of ours). Erin took a photo of the vase, posted it, and it was flagged and removed. What was weird was when Tony made a posting counter offering, titling his post, “Lurkin for a Murkin”, no one complained.

Friday August 1st Bike Ride: 8 pm @ Monroe Park

Ellwood Thompson and RVA Magazine are hosting a bike ride starting in Monroe Park at 8 pm on Friday, August 1st to benefit Books on Wheels and to promote bicycle riding in Richmond. Yeah! Posters spotted around town, will have one up here soon, and more details about the ride.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Relaxing for a bit

We haven't been doing much of anything since returning from tour. The rest of the summer is packed for both Ward and I outside of Books on Wheels, so we have been keeping our events to a minimum for the next month or so. We have been spending time discussing how we want to work in the future, and for the first time since we bought the big bus in December, the small bus has been cleaned and restocked with bike parts and such for local events when needed. A few new things coming up soon, but before I spill beans all over the Internet, I want to make sure things pan out as planned. More on that soon. Anyone in Richmond know a good diesel mechanic? Ours moved to Fredricksburg, and Moby isn't shifting properly, and its due time for a check up (and as usual, we don't have any money).

The bus made a few appearances over the holiday weekend, escorting quite a few people to some water-related events. First, Hadad's Lake on the 4th, and then an Aquabattle at a boat launch on the southside. Both were fun, even though we unfortunately we weren't able to help Scott out with his air compressor, and all the fake blood he brought couldn't be used to squirt at people, but at least it worked for give people rides home. When it stormed at Hadad's, we fit 17 people, 2 mopeds, and 4 bikes in the bus! Good times.

Oh, RVA Magazine is hosting a critical bash bike ride, which is to be a benefit for BOW. More details later.
(photo by Stephen Crandall)