This year has been a huge challenge for everyone and we are so appreciative of all the support you’ve given us this year. We wanted to reflect a bit on 2020 and talk about our plans for the future. Including our new patreon page, where we’ll be taking a lot of our art and zine-making.
So 2020 was the year we published Gears for Queers and what a ride that has been! We got to enjoy the unique stress of publishing our debut book during a global pandemic: something that actually turned out brilliantly thanks to the people who made our online launch party possible. We were interviewed, ran workshops, talked at festivals and were even quoted on the back of another book. Quite frankly it’s been a huge learning curve. None of this stuff comes naturally to us and having to do it all online has been pretty exhausting. That being said, we are so grateful to Sandstone Press and Kay and Ceris particularly who guided us along this journey. Plus, it’s definitely sparked the writing bug for me (maybe less so Lili, but I’ll convince them yet). Look out for our woeful cries of exhaustion on our patreon as we slowly attempt to write the second book later this year.
2020 was also the year we started talking more about fatness. We were lucky enough to be gifted Machines for Freedom new range of clothes in plus sizes, which was pretty transformative for me. I even made a little Fat Cyclist Manifesto Zine, which you can download for free. I’m hoping to do more fat cyclist stuff this year, including starting a collaborative zine (which didn’t quite manage to get it’s feet of the ground last year) and maybe, hopefully, a coast to coast ride with some other fat cyclists.
Lili started their Phd, which has been a huge change in our routine. It’s about zines and health and I basically only understand 75% of what Lili is saying when they talk about it. It’s given us a secure income for the first time ever though and I can’t believe how much of a relief is is to know where money is coming from for the next three years. They’re sending out a regularly newsletter about the experience which I would recommend because it’s excellent and I’m not at all biased. You can sign up to receive it here.
One of the best experiences of the year was speaking at the Kendal Mountain Festival. Neither of us were prepared for how big the festival is, or how professional it is and it definitely took us by surprise that they wanted us to speak. Our interviewer Kate was great and helped us feel fully in control of the conversation. She even went through potential questions the week before, which made speaking a lot easier for me. I had to drop out of an event earlier in the year because the interviewer couldn’t understand why I would need to know questions prior to an event. Even after explaining how I find it difficult to process things quickly, she responded that rehearsed answers never sound good and did not help us when we asked for the things that would have made it possible to attend. Kendal however, was ace and accessible and I hope some of you enjoyed our chat!
So, looking forward. What’s next?
We’ve started a Patreon page which we’d love you to join if you are able to. We’re going to be making more zines this year, sharing more writing and sending out cool stuff that we create. You can join us from £1 a month, or we have a pay it forward system if you want to join but can’t afford it (just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
We’re hoping to get out on our bikes more this year. We live just off the coastal path in Fife now, which will hopefully make it easier to go on longer rides. Riding hasn’t been a priority this year (for obvious reasons) but we are hopeful we might get the chance to do some more exploring in summer or autumn. We are also the new parents of a two person kayak, which we can’t wait to take out on the sea.
Lili continues the Phd and I continue to try and persuade them to start the next book. I still need a good title, apparently The Fast and The Furious puns aren’t the hilarious titles I think they are. Still, look out for drafts of 2 Gears 2 Queers in the near future.
Hopefully we’ll be able to get to some physical events this year. We’d love to do a first birthday party/belated launch for the book. If you know of any good festivals or events that we could apply for, or that you would like to see us at, please get in touch. If you’re running an event and you think we’d be a good fit, hit us up!
Lastly, we’d both like to say thanks to a load of people and organisations which helped make our book launch possible and successful. It wasn’t easy having so little communication with other people this year and we relied heavily on people we met online. We would recommend following all of these folks – they’re each doing excellent work.
Sandstone Press especially Kay, our editor, and Ceris, marketing whiz. Jools Walker aka Lady Velo. Emily Chappell. Eris Young. Char and Fi at Category is Books. Mairi at Lighthouse Books. Kirstyn at Marbles Magazine and Rita for the Cats chat. Christina at Cyclista Zine. Kate Rawles. Paul Scully at Kendal Mountain Festival. Andrew Sykes at CyclingEurope.org. Richard Hearne at Pride Out. Stuart Duffy at Pink Saltire. Sarah and Mary at Bicycle Adventure Club. Laura at the UK Cycle Touring Festival. Monstrous Regiment Publishing. Emily Willing and Untamed Apparel. Marley Blonsky and Kailey Kornhauser. The Machines for Freedom team. Cycling UK. All the cool folk at Edinburgh Zine Library. Eilidh at Corbies Rest, Inverness. Amy Lunn. Jenny. Our little Fife community (who have kept us sane) Judit, Tony, Kirsty, Peggy and Mabel, Jac, Jade, Zelda, Becky and Ross (our new neighbours, who also run the excellent Haunt Publishing). Plus our friends and family ofc, we’ve not seen as much as we’d like of any of you this year, but here’s hoping for 2021 and thanks for the support from near and far.