Finding books that interest kids is tough. There are books that aren’t really interesting, are too risque, or badly written, so it’s tough for some young readers to actually enjoy reading, and for those with more mechanical minds, who like tinkering with and figuring out how machines work, the problem is especially perplexing.
But those who love getting out, riding bikes and fixing what goes wrong are in for a treat. Rob Coppolillo’s new book addresses bike mechanics, types of biking and the benefits of riding instead of driving. Coloradans generally love their bicycles, so The Bookworm of Edwards is hosting Coppolillo to talk to local teens about how to be better cyclists and better bike mechanics.
While this book is geared for tweens and teens, according to Jill Von Buskirk, writer for bicyclepaper.com, “‘Holy Spokes!’ tackles cycling as a sport, as well as a means of transportation, recreation, education and income. In other words, even if you’re a bike aficionado, you’re sure to find some nuggets of gold in this publication.”
Coppolillo said that he “tried to really cover the sport in general, so folks could choose between more intense ways to be on a bike (such as BMX, downhill riding, etc.) and more leisurely styles of cycling such as touring, fitness riding or casual road riding.” His experiences as a cyclist span these cycling types over several decades.
He rode an Evil Knievel-style bike with his brother and friends. Then, he realized that biking offered freedom that they otherwise couldn’t get as children. They forayed into fields to build tracks and jumps, and frequently rode bikes just for the sake of riding.
His love of cycling took him to the CU-Boulder cycling team, and he branched out from there, trying mountain biking and other forms of the sport. Now he enjoys riding with his wife and children.
“My wife and I have twin boys, three years old, Dominic and Luca,” he said. “They’re getting pretty good on their Strider bikes, so we’re starting to move toward riding as a family, rather than just watching them tear around. They love it, so we love it.”
This love for the sport will be apparent when he speaks to teens at the Bookworm on Friday. The Bookworm is working with the local bike shop the Kind Cyclist. Coppolillo will show a multimedia presentation highlighting some of his most memorable races and guide locations. He will then help teens find the right type of cycling for them by giving them fun quizzes.
Very practical advice will also be given at this event. Coppolillo will share how to be a better cyclist, and the attendees may bring their bikes to be professionally fitted by Coppolillo and staff from the Kind Cyclist. “I’m psyched to just hang and help everybody,” Coppolillo said.
“Holy Spokes: A Biking Bible for Everyone” was not written simply because of Coppolillo’s passion for the sport — although that certainly kept the idea alive. He was approached by Zest Books, a San-Francisco-based company specializing in teen books. Their catalogue includes books on first dates, surviving high-school, and how to do things.
With a rapidly increasing number of cyclists, Zest saw a niche market for books for teens about cycling. And while “Holy Spokes” came from a neat collaboration, Coppolillo left his mark not only through negotiation with Zest about content and organization, but also by his interest in making cycling an integral part of people’s lives.
“Cycling is a lifelong, healthy, great sport. I’ve ridden the hardest passes in Europe with folks past retirement age ... it’s great for your body, keeps you healthy, and it’s a wonderful way to see the world,” he said.