Anne Lee Chosen To Write Portland Guide to Bicycling
We are excited to announce that our Deputy Director, Anne Lee, just signed a contract to write a book entitled Where to Bike Portland. The publisher, BA Press (Bicycling Australia), has published cycling guides for many cities in Australia and one for London. The most recent U.S. book is for Chicago, which has been in print for a couple of months. They also have guides coming to market soon for Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
When the book is finished, it will contain 50-75 rides varying in length and difficulty, including kid-friendly rides. The guide will provide very detailed maps, photographs of local interest, and a description of each ride.
We spoke with Anne to learn more about this exciting opportunity:
How did you first hear about the Where to Bike guides?I read about it on BikePortland.org, which I read every day. There was a posting for a writer for the greater Portland edition.
What was the application process like? The application process was interesting. I sent my resume and letter of interest along with a couple of writing samples and photographs to Bicycling Australia via email. I had never heard of the company but looked them up online. They seemed legit. A couple of weeks later, I received an email telling me I was on the “short list.” I was quite excited to have made the cut. The email indicated that I would receive a phone call from the company owner, which I did, and at the end of the phone call, we made an appointment to meet and discuss the project further. When we met on a Sunday, I showed him more photographs and my ideas about how to approach the project. I also invited them to tour our Bike Shop and meet Alison, our Executive Director. I knew that the other candidates for the job would be more experienced than I, but I was just thrilled to have gotten so far in the process. Monday night I was on the phone with my daughter and I got the call offering me the project. I am still pinching myself!
Can you give us a brief overview of what the Where to Bike guides are about?The guides are full of recreational rides in urban settings. Most rides are within a 2-hour car ride of the center of the city and target recreational riders and families. There is always one full chapter of rides for kids. The guides take on the interests of the author. For instance, the Chicago guide has a full chapter on the history of bicycles. The cartography is excellent and the format is small enough to slip into a pannier.Bicycling Australia is a company known best for its bicycling magazines. The publication of cycling guides is a new venture for the company, but seems to have been quite successful thus far. The company has a keen interest in increasing the number of bicyclists in the world. A portion of every sale is donated to World Bicycle Relief. The social enterprise nature of the company is well aligned with the interests of Community Cycling Center.
Are you writing the guide solo, or are there multiple authors?I am writing solo, but hope to have lots of company on group rides as I map out the rides. I will also be holding a brainstorming session at the end of April to get ideas from people about their favorite rides. This type of project is never done completely alone, and I expect to have quite a few acknowledgments and “thank you’s” in the publication.
Are there any general themes that you are considering for the Portland guide?The publishers leave the theme up to the author and I have been thinking that I would like to highlight the creative side of Portland featuring public art, bike art, parks, food, etc.
Can you share a bit about your previous writing experience?I have been writing all my life, but not always professionally. I owned a weekly publication when I was in Maine, so I am familiar with publishing from that angle. I also wrote one chapter in a collaborated book a few years ago. This is the first full-length book I have undertaken, however.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about this guide?I still can’t believe that I was the one chosen to write this guide, but I am thrilled to have the opportunity. I believe that at least part of the reason I was chosen was because of my connection with the Community Cycling Center. I have decided to share a portion of the sales with the organization. The publisher has already approved the inclusion of a couple of pages of history of our organization in the introduction. When the guide is published, I am hoping it provides lots of attention for the work we do in the community.