Elly Blue and Joe Biel returned to BicycleSPACE Downtown for another great event during the National Bike Summit. Elly and Joe, of Microcosm Publishing, have been active in creating books, zines, and films centered around the intersection of bikes, transportation, gender, sexuality, race and class.
Biel started Microcosm Publishing from his closet in Ohio over 20 years ago, in part as an outlet for depression. Today, Elly and Joe led “Put Your Road Rage to the Page,” a writing workshop and discussion on how to channel your frustrations in something positive. Attendees included locals, experienced commuters, new cyclists, a Lyft driver who bikes, a bike advocacy organizer from Cleveland, and a self-described “California bike industry shill,” from the lovely Merry Sales Co.
The group enjoyed a passionate discussion where they wrote and shared personal stories that made them upset and frustrated, but also ways they find joy and inspiration in the bike world. Some criticisms we’re of the usual suspects, poor infrastructure and rude behaviors from drivers. Critiques also fell on the cycling community as well. Folks felt frustrated when those on bikes treated each other in negative ways, “shoaling” at lights, talking down to other genders, elitism, and erratic behavior that hurts the public image.
The consensus was that these issues aren’t specific to the bike community, but relate to society at large. They discussed ways we can shift our attitudes towards empathy and compassion. Such as not assuming you know what’s best for others, instead they emphasized the power of getting to know people first and learn who they are. There was lots of support for random acts of kindness and micro-affections.
Elly and Joe had folks compile a list of problems and solutions. Together the group came up with ways to work toward positive, productive outcomes within “your agency and locus of control.” The group got to know each other and shared stories from their own facets of the bike community. It’s always a pleasure hosting Elly and Joe and we can’t wait to see them again. Check out their site to learn more about their great work.