BY JESSICA HOCH
Portland, which has already made a name for itself as a hot-spot for cycling culture, is now home to a publishing company that’s hoping to make a splash with home-grown bike activist Mia Birk.
Birk, now a freshly minted author, has made a name for herself in Portland and communities around the country as a leader in innovative ideas to better integrate bikes into daily life. She offers her philosophy and blueprint for healthier, happier and safer communities on two wheels in her new book “Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet”.
Birk is publishing her first title with Joe Kurmaskie and his new venture, Cadence Press. Kurmaskie is a well-established local voice who’s seen great success as a niche author for travel and cycling books. Kurmaskie, who wrote about his ride across Canada with his wife and children in Mud, Sweat & Gears, used Birk’s book as the push to start the publishing company he’d long been considering.
“If we were to work with any of the established publishers that wanted her book it would have meant working at a rather glacial pace,” said Kurmaskie. “We already have a really great buzz and this is a faster way to get a book like Mia’s with her message out there to a larger audience.”
Kurmaskie is hoping to get noticed with this first title and then take the momentum to a number of other projects in the works. The slogan for the press is “Find Your Rhythm” and although they are launching in the bike world they will welcome other topics.
Kurmaskie wants to be known as an author’s niche publisher, meaning he hopes to pay a higher royalty rate than traditional publishers. A portion of all the profits from Cadence Press books will also go to various non-profit organizations.
The plan is to put out five to seven titles a year and target national distribution, work creatively with new media and ebooks and bookstores, and market to outdoor and bicycling retailers as well as direct sales to clubs and organizations.
There will be a contest in the fall titled “I love bikes” where participants can submit their stories and possibly win a chance to work with Cadence Press on a bike contract.
Other projects on deck include a spin-off of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” jokes with “You might be a cyclist if” as well as the story of the Vogel family’s ride from Alaska to Argentina with their 12-year-old boys.
Cadence Press is currently accepting submissions and writing guidelines will soon be posted on the website. Interested authors can contact Kurmaskie at metalcowboy(at)metalcowboy.com.
The official launch of Joyride is in October but copies will be for sale in August and anyone can pre-order at www.miabirk.com. Read more about Birk's history in Portland and her new book at bikeportland.org with writer Jonathan Maus.