Hello from New Haven, Connecticut! We’re slowly making our way through the Northeast and enjoying every minute of bikes, books and delicious vegan meals. After spending a splendid few days in New York, with events in Schenectady, Syracuse, Buffalo and Ithaca, we had dinner and discussed bikes in New Haven last night at City Hall. This morning, we were delighted to spend some time tabling in front of the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop for New Haven’s bike to work day.
Our time through New York state went all too quickly, but we’re so very grateful to everyone who came out to chat, sponsored, housed and showed us around town. We’ve met so many wonderful folks along this tour genuinely interested and working card on building a better bike culture for everyone.
We’re just barely halfway through the tour however, which means we’ve got lots more dates ahead of us. Be sure to check out the full list!
We’ve officially made it through our first leg of the tour. So far, every night has gone swimmingly. After a sold out show in Ann Arbor at Morgan and York, we spent our last night in Michigan at the Jam Handy, an old film house in Detroit currently being repurposed. A sold out crowd representing many local organizations spent the evening dining on a Mexican themed buffet from Josh and we’re happy to say we saw many people networking and building ideas for a more bike friendly Detroit. We then headed off to Cleveland for yet another sold out show at the Old Stone Church put on by Bike Cleveland. This was one of our largest events of the tour so far, and we had an amazing dinner style setup which allowed everyone to spread out and get to know each other better.
We dropped by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op on Friday morning to give another presentation on bicycling economics and infrastructure and screen some of Joe’s Cycling Shorts. Our group had a lively discussion about how Clevelanders could better engage the city in creating a more bikeable and safer city. We took a little break in the evening for a book signing party at the Joy Machines Bike Shop, and are so grateful for the hospitality and fun we had in Ohio.
On Saturday, we brought our show to the Grant Street Neighborhood Community Center in Buffalo, thanks to the Massachusetts Avenue Project, GObike Buffalo & Burning Books. We had a very restful night off in Ithaca last night and are all set for our event at St Paul’s Church community dining room this evening. Tomorrow, we’re heading to Syracuse and Wednesday we’ll be in Schenectady. We hope to see you soon!
We’re midway through the Michigan leg of our tour and so far it’s been fantastic. After a great kick off at Velo City Cycles in Holland, we headed to Grand Rapids where the wonderful people of the Newberry Housing Co-Op hosted us for the evening. Josh served up a delicious choco lentil loaf with fried plantains and salsa fresca, a sesame cabbage salad, among many other tasty items. We had a fantastic discussion with the crowd on bicycling improvements happening in the city after the presentation. We’d like to give a special thank you to Josh and Amy for putting us up for the night.
After parting ways with Grand Rapids we headed towards Traverse City, and we set up at The City Bike shop for an incredible sold out event. We all enjoyed some jack fruit spring rolls with avocado, lime and garlic mashed white bean potatoes and a pineapple chickpea stew. As the weather was lovely and we had a bit of down time, we were grateful to spend some time walking around and chatting with plenty of friendly folks downtown. Organizers Gary and Lee did a fantastic job of getting the word out about town to more than 70 people and our hosts Bob and Laura were wonderful and welcoming. Many thanks to everyone we’ve met and chatted with along the way.
We’re all set up this evening in East Lansing, where we’ll be having a raw dinner with ingredients provided by our hosts, the East Lansing Food Co-Op. Hopefully, we’ll see you in a few hours!
Tour has begun!
Our kickoff event was at the super friendly Velo City bike shop in downtown Holland, Michigan. This weekend kicks off Tulip Time, which means a gorgeous flower display everywhere and a ton of foot traffic on main streets, including many people wearing full Dutch costume! It was quite a scene. The event was lots of fun. Our organizer, local bike advocate Meika Weiss, wasn’t sure how many people would be excited about the event, but it ended up selling out, with about 50 smiling people talking about bike routes and riding bikes with kids on Holland’s not always bike-friendly streets.
Aaron and others took some photos which you can see on the Facebook page for the event.
We’re off to Grand Rapids tonight (we have a total of six events here in Michigan!)—and onward from there. True to form, Elly is still scrambling to use every moment of Internet connection to organize a few more last minute dates—will something come together next week in Rochester? Sure looks like it. Can’t wait!
Hope to meet a lot of you along the way. Check out our schedule and come eat, talk bikes, and enjoy.
The Dinner and Bikes tour of 2013 is coming up fast — this week has been a flurry of emails, and filling in details on our schedule. A bunch of the event have ticket sales info… and we are quickly adding facebook pages for each of them. If you live or know anyone in any of the towns on our route, please rsvp and spread the word.
We still have a few gaps! (Ahem, New York, Chicago…) Anyone want to leap in? Some of our best events have been put together on very short notice (24 hours was the shortest — in 2011 we packed the living room of a medium-sized San Francisco apartment. Two weeks was more than enough time for seriously stellar organizers to attract crowds of over a hundred in Santa Monica in 2011 and Jacksonville in 2012…).
Here are some assorted updates:
- Holland, Michigan has a mini-interview up with Elly.
- People often ask what our usual type of venue is, and we have no answer to this. Case in point: In Columbus, Ohio, our event will be at what the owner described to us as “the city’s only vegan dive bar, I think.” We believe it! Thanks, Hal and Al’s, for hosting us. If you stick around after our show, you can see a metal band perform.
- Meanwhile, our events in Syracuse and Schenectady are both hosted by the Unitarian Church. Lots of love.
- It’s probably unlucky to say things like this, but I (Elly) am going to go ahead and predict that our hugest events in terms of turnout will be… wait for it… Detroit… and… Iowa City. I’ve been wrong before plenty of times (Joshua is our resident savant at this guessing game, which is good because he does the grocery shopping), so other cities should feel empowered to go ahead and break my prediction.
- Columbus, Indiana (not to be confused with the other Columbus) designed a new poster (based on the redesigned one from Santa Monica, but with a more stern color scheme). Here’s a snapshot (meanwhile, to download one of our template posters, go here):
See you all very soon! We can’t wait for each and every one of these events.
We are excited to announce the dates, route, and program for Dinner and Bikes 2013!
We’ll be traveling the central and northeast U.S. in May — which happens to coincide with Bike Month.
Here is our rough schedule so far. It will change a bit as dates are confirmed and switched around. Do you live in any of these spots and want to work with us to bring Dinner and bikes to your town? Get in touch, we’re booking now.
Our program will be a little different this year, showcasing our recently finished major projects. Joe’s documentary, Aftermass, is nearly done. He’ll be showing excerpts that add up to nearly the length of the full documentary. Elly will be presenting her new book, Everyday Bicycling, a friendly, basic guide to bicycle transportation that includes chapters on carrying cargo, family bicycling, and advocacy. And Joshua’s food will continue to wow everyone.
We’re also excited to welcome Aaron to our team. You’ll meet Aaron as the smiling face behind our traveling bicycle and food themed bookstore. He’ll also be acting as roadie as well as documenter of the trip, blogging and recording as we eat and talk our way around this corner of the country.
And I can’t resist a little foreshadowing — spring 2014 should see us traversing the east coast from tip to toe. If you’re on that coast and not on our route for this year, get in touch and we’ll put you on our spreadsheet. [love at dinner and bikes dot com]
Our next full-on, month-long Dinner and Bikes Tour is coming up in April, 2013. We currently know for sure that we’re going to Michigan and New York State. And Chicago. And that general region. Look us up if you’re interested in hosting an event in your town!
In the meantime, we are having a mini-reunion tour in southern California. We’ll be doing it up proper with amazing food, new movies, and new ideas in San Diego this Friday, Sept 7th, and in Santa Monica on the 14th. Details on our events page….
And here’s the snazzy poster they made for the Santa Monica event (you read that right: Vegan cupcakes!):
This last tour was, by all forms of accounting, our best one ever. Every show ruled. Every person at every event was awesome. Every city was doing heartening things for bikes. Even the car catching on fire early in the tour couldn’t stop the chain of excellent events.
Some of the feedback we’ve gotten over email since the event has been really touching. The kind of stuff that makes me think, “THIS is why we drop everything and leave our home and friends and bikes and cat behind to sit in a cramped car for weeks on end without always knowing we’ll have a place to sleep that night.” Here’s a sampling of the best.
First, from Amy in Mobile… I’ll just quote all of it, ’cause this is all great:
Since you’ve gone, not a day has gone by that we haven’t ridden our bikes everywhere we’ve gone and even embraced taking the lane a few times (in admittedly low traffic). This afternoon we’re headed to Fairhope to see how their newly restriped areas of town are doing and so we can write their mayor and city council to thank them for it and let them know it brought us to their town to spend some money. Anyway, all that to say that we’ve taken on even more of a role as bike advocates here in town, thanks in large part to your visit, and we’d love to stay in touch. I just read your entry on my hometown of Baton Rouge and am amazed that anyone can bike in that city, though I did notice the prevalence of sharrows in my sister’s area of town starting a few visits ago… I would be terrified to try them out with all of the surrounding aggressive drivers, in all honesty, but each time I go I’ve noticed more and more cyclists and it seems a lot less intimidating.
And most recently, from an as yet to be identified person, confirming our suspicions that our events contain the perfect ingredients for romance:
Hello! I was wondering if you all had a store where I could purchase the poster for Dinner & Bikes. My boyfriend and I met at your event last month and I wanted to get him the poster as a gift…
I’ll post more love notes as we get them!
Just a quick update from a wifi oasis in New Orleans. Here’s the three of us a few days ago at the farmer’s market in Baton Rouge. The photo was taken by Mark Martin, our host and the founder of the spirited and effective local bike advocacy organization, BRASS.
For more in-depth tour updates, check out Elly’s coverage at Taking the Lane.
Dinner and Bikes tour 2012 launched last night with a sold-out event in Oakland, put on by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. It was an absolute blast and a great way to kick off a month and a half of travel and events. Thanks, Bay Area!
We’ll be here for a few more days, scooting around on a borrowed Xtracycle, doing an event for teens in Mill Valley, meeting up with friends, and selling books to anarchists in Golden Gate Park. Then we hit the rails again. Joshua rejoins us next week in Kansas, where we will also be met by new, updated editions of two of his saucy and mind-boggling cookbooks. We’ll rent a car, pack it to the gills, and come visit the rest of you.
We’re mostly booked, but there are a few dates left to shore up! If you don’t see details after your city name on our route, get in touch and we’ll make something happen. If you live in one of the places we’re visiting and want to help spread the word, get in touch likewise! We’re excited to meet you!
Great Northeast Tour 2013
Bicycle inspiration, vegan food, and a pop-up bookstore traveling the Northeast U.S. in May, 2013.