Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Everybody has a bicycle story, right?


August is blasting Kansas with everything it's got. 100-degree days and all the humidity you've come to associate with back-to-school month. 

While Tracy Million Simmons and I are putting together issue two (!) of 105 Meadowlark Reader, the road trip issue, we encourage you to be thinking about writing your true Kansas stories for our third issue: bicycle stories. 

Hey, even if you've never owned a bike, surely you have a bike story in your past somewhere. Maybe you wanted a bike but never got one. Maybe a cousin had a hot stingray and crashed it, breaking a leg, and you spent the summer keeping her entertained. 

And if you have owned a bike, ridden a bike, you certainly have bike stories to tell. 

The thing is, you don't have to have had some huge, dramatic event surrounding a bike. Memoir and personal essays can capture one tiny moment and what that moment meant to you, how it affected you, offered insights into life. 

Perhaps you were 8 years-old and you'd just saved up enough money to buy a speedometer for your bike, and with that speedometer you began to grasp the concept of distance and miles and you watched your odometer sync with the mile roads you passed. 

Maybe you clothes-pinned playing cards to your bicycle frame so the cards slapped your spokes as you rode down the sidewalk in your neighborhood. That was cool. Until your dad yelled at you about using his favorite deck of cards. 

Maybe you've recently purchased a mountain bike and you've just taken it on an adventure vacation. 

Maybe you had a lemonade stand as a kid and the main reason you set up that lemonade stand was to draw in the cute redheaded girl on her bright orange bike. 

Maybe you've done the BAK - Biking Across Kansas. What were the good, the bad and the ugly things about the trek? What did you learn about Kansas? What did you learn about yourself? 

Maybe you've participated in a Kansas gravel race. How did that go? Who did you meet? What did you see and experience along the way?

Maybe when you were 7, you had a banana seat (silver and sparkly) and your best friend, who didn't have a bike, rode on the back of the seat when you went to the park to play. 

Maybe that scar on your knee is a bicycle-wreck scar. 

Maybe you see, for the first time in 20 years, the exact same shade of teal that was the color of your favorite bike, and seeing that color again brings back a rush of memories. 

True stories are not just about things or events or people - they can also be about how those things, events and people have changed us, how we've grown in our lives because of our experiences. 

Our reading period for true Kansas bike stories is coming up. November 1 - December 31, 2021. Write your stories now and submit them during that time-frame. 

Take a chance! Write a story that means something to you, that will mean something to a reader. Put your heart into your story. When it comes down to choosing stories for the issues, Tracy and I love the ones with heart. 

We look forward to reading your stories! Go. Write. 

Cheryl Unruh
Editor, 105 Meadowlark Reader

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