Okay, so I was a little giddy to find two zines about biking in my most recent review stack. I have a little Portland bike envy going on, since while I live near some fairly vibrant bike culture, there's less of it in the city where I live. In addition, both of these zines are just beautiful objects; I'm always a fan of something that's both readable and able to be admired -- i.e. it's a pleasure to look at it, the layout is clean and compelling, and they're just really nicely constructed. Both zines fit this description.
Bikenomics is a collection of 10 articles that Elly Blue originally wrote for Grist.org in 2011, but they flow very well together. She's working on "a book exploring the bike economy around the country" that will be released in 2013 and this zine is a particularly good start to thinking about some of those concepts. It's a very eloquent look at things as wide ranging as the simple number crunching that 6 tanks of $4 gas add up pretty quickly so that city bike will pay for itself a lot faster than you think to recognizing that though biking can be easy for most, it isn't for all. It's a realistic, smart consideration of a fascinating topic, and the zine is absolutely worth reading (even if you don't ride; maybe especially if you don't yet ride!).
But I really kind of fell in love with Our Bodies, Our Bikes. I didn't really get into biking as an adult until I had a stretch of time where I didn't have a car and had to get back and forth to work (and here there are a lot of bike trails that run parallel to the major roadways). I'm not yet an all-weather rider (I know some folks in Massachusetts are, but I'm not there yet), but then I got into distance riding. Long story short: I kinda fell in love with my bike and with riding. I loved the idea that I could get myself around without relying on a car, and reading about other women doing awesome stuff on bikes (riding to the birthing center while riding out contractions? Holy crap, that's awesome!) just really made me want to get on my bike and go for a ride. There's a number of different stories in this collection, including one excellent piece about what cycling can do to your body (and how that helped one author learn to love her butt), stretches that incorporate your bike, and a super-smart piece for lady bikers about biking and your lady parts. (Seriously! It's an important subject and people don't talk about it enough!)
It's also got the most adorable back cover photo, of a lady ridin' along on her bike, overjoyed to be out in the sun, wearing socks and shoes and not very much else.
You gotta read this zine. It's really awesome. (You can order it online at takingthelane.com)
Our Bodies, Our Bikes
Taking the Lane Volume 5 (Dec 2011)
by Elly Blue
$3 US / ? Can/Mex / ? World
trades: not sure, contact & ask
4.25 inches wide x 6.5 inches wide)
Bikenomics: How Bicycling Will Save The Economy (If We Let It) (Sept 2011, 2nd printing)
by Elly Blue
$5 US / ? Can/Mex / ? World
trades: not sure
4.25 wide x 7.25 tall
both available from
PO Box 14332
Portland, OR 97293
Who and What We Are
Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.