Ward Tefft and Shelley Briggs are going on tour with a bus full of broken spines and bent spokes, but they're not a death-metal band.
They're Books on Wheels, a free book and bike repair nonprofit. They'll head out on July 5 for a 19-day tour that includes stops in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. The diesel-powered Mo'Book Mo'Bike Mobile, a short school bus the pair bought and covered in bright spray paint, will carry them.
Briggs is co-owner of Richmond Re-Cycles, which sells new and used bikes, and Tefft owns Chop Suey Books and Chop Suey Tuey. They hope to spread across the country the gospel of personal liberation through literature and transportation.
It'll be their second tour this summer. Already this month they visited all eight Richmond Public Library branches in nine days, repairing as many as 20 bikes. Most popular book requests: dictionaries and Bibles.
In Ann Arbor, Mich., they'll stop at 826michigan, a nonprofit literacy program run by Dave Eggers, the love-to-hate-him author of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and publisher of the literary quarterly McSweeney's. Eggers' publishing business lost over $100,000 after his distributor declared bankruptcy, fueling the sour grapes faction of the indie literati scene.
Where does Tefft come down on the issue? "No comment," he says. S