We had the pleasure of meeting Eben Weiss (aka BikeSnob USA) last week while he was in Vancouver for his book tour. By 'we' I mean my boyfriend and myself. I had to do it cause it's my job. The BF on the other hand took time off work to tag along for fun. Not that I minded this particular working day because we rode bikes all day and it's our fave thing to do!
For those of you who don't know who Eben Weiss is, he writes the emencely popular blog bikesnousa and wrote a couple of books.
We had met him at his hotel where we all biked over the Caffé Musette for a nice cup of coffee and some snacks while we waited for legendary Amy Walker and her crew to get suited and booted for their Eben interview for bicycle.com.
Essentially they ride around town showing people riding in
real-life situations - on the streets, trails and bike routes of our city from the back of a Yuba Mundo cargo bike. It looks pretty tricky to handle but these two had the down packed.
After a couple hours of riding around beautiful Vancouver (oh and the weather was awesome btw!) we were starved so stopped for few tacos at Taqueria before heading over to Bike Dr. for the group ride.
We ended the night at Chapters where Eben answered questions from the crowd and signed stock. We talked about everything from biking and rainbows to religion and salmoning. (Grab the book, you'll know what I mean after reading it)
Following morning Eben graced our local TV waves at BT. Here's the link.
I'm pleading to get Eben up to Toronto.
I'll keep you all posted on if and when that happens.
In an article posted on their website today, the WSJ claim that the 'Snob' is none other than former New York literary agent Eben Oliver Weiss:
He's 36 years old, grew up riding BMX and is not a stranger to the media world. After a brief stint as a New York City bike messenger, he spent more than a decade in the publishing industry, working as an agent with the Ralph M. Vicinanza, Ltd. literary agency. His wife, Sara Goodman, is an editor at St. Martin's Press, and the couple are expecting their first child in May. Mr. Weiss races locally on an amateur bike team sponsored by Gotham Bikes, a New York City shop. But by his own account, he's a mediocre racer.
"I'm just a regular guy," Mr. Weiss said.
Since the blog launched in 2007, The Bike Snob has become a must-read for both urban cyclists and international racers (including Lance Armstrong!), and although his true identity has been something of a guessing game in the cycling world, The Bike Snob has stayed decidedly in the shadows.
With a book about to published, the Snob finally decided it was time to ditch his anonymity, and face the bicycling public.
Award-winning Canadian book distributor Raincoast Books has signed Pop Sandbox, a new Canadian publisher with extensive experience in the Canadian film industry and ambitious plans to expand into multimedia.
Launched by independent film producer and entrepreneur Alex Jansen, Toronto-based Pop Sandbox will publish their first book in May 2010. The much-anticipated Kenk: A Graphic Portrait is a groundbreaking journalistic graphic novel about Igor Kenk, "the world's most prolific bicycle thief" (The Guardian), who was arrested in the summer of 2008 in one of the biggest news stories of the year.
“I'm excited about Pop Sandbox. Alex and his associates are clearly very smart and truly innovative and they're going to bring journalistic non-fiction to a new audience,” says Paddy Laidley, Executive VP Sales & Marketing at Raincoast Books. “We don't sign small publishers, but we think it’s worth breaking our own rules in this case. We’re looking forward to a long and happy partnership.”
With his new venture, Jansen plans to bring his experience in independent film to create a series of innovative multimedia projects. “What makes Pop Sandbox unique is that we're taking a film producer's approach to graphic novels right from concept and telling new types of stories in new ways with the medium,” says Jansen. Pop Sandbox is also developing an interactive technology that allows readers to expand the graphic novel beyond the printed page; in the case of Kenk, readers will be able to launch right into the original documentary source material.
Future projects include a graphic memoir about Canada’s residential school program by filmmaker Nadia McLaren, whose acclaimed 2007 documentary Muffins for Granny told the story of her Ojibwa grandmother by combining fragments of home movies with the stories of seven elders dramatically affected by their experiences in residential schools. Pop Sandbox also recently won the National Film Board of Canada and TV Ontario’s Digital Calling Card to produce The Next Day, an interactive graphic novel constructed from interviews with survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts that Jansen describes as “a philosophical exploration of life, the decision to end it, and what comes after…”
“Igor is an absolutely compelling character that gave us unbridled access to his life, ideas and questionable practices,” says Jansen. “He’s been characterized by the media as either a petty thug or a criminal mastermind, but he’s both more and less than that. I'd describe him as an exceptionally bright street-philosopher, a hoarder, an environmentalist, an opportunist, a communist, a capitalist, an idealist and a crook. He’s a Slovenian-born immigrant who came to Canada from the turmoil in Yugoslavia, continually preaching the dangers of western excess and foretelling the collapse of the North American economy.”
Kenk is built from more than 30 hours of never-before-seen footage taken over the year leading up to his arrest and is a portrait of an outsize neighbourhood figure, a city, and a world in flux.
“He was the last hold-out in a community that quickly changed around him,” says Jansen. “Kenk bought his building 10 years ago for $85,000 and was being offered up to $700,000 in the days leading up to his arrest, which ironically coincided with the downturn of the economy. He explicates not just his own neighbourhood, but his city, his country and the very system under which we all live. It is not just a local story, but a universal story. It is as poignant in Vancouver or New York or Beijing as it is in Toronto.”