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Q&A with ‘Cyclettes’ writer and designer Tree Abraham

Q&A with ‘Cyclettes’ writer and designer Tree Abraham

#Cyclettes #writer #designer #Tree #Abraham Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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Tree Abraham works as an art director in the publishing industry and therefore sees himself as a person who primarily designs books and not as a person who writes them.

However, in her new book Cyclettes (Unnamed Press, $26), Abraham has done both. The 200-page hardcover collects Abraham’s finely composed biographical vignettes alongside her illustrations, charts, photographs, and visual artifacts. Cyclettes is part memoir, part travelogue, part reflection on human existence, but no matter what direction the book takes, bikes are always part of the story. Bikes ridden, bikes stolen, bikes coveted, bikes used for utility and escape. The bicycle is the central character of the book, as is Abraham himself.

Cyclettes follows Abraham’s life from childhood in the Canadian capital of Ottawa to adulthood in Brooklyn, New York, traveling around the world in between. Throughout the book, Abraham deviates to recount her relationships with family members, friends, lovers, bosses, and strangers. A bicycle (several of which fall in and out of her possession throughout the story) is her constant companion, carrying her physically and psychologically to new territories. As she pedals, she drops sharp observations about man’s place in the world and how the bicycle gives us the power to change it for the better.

Abraham and I spoke via Zoom about the stories and illustrations in her book, her approach to cycling in her own life, and her vision of the perfect bike ride. Our conversation has been edited and condensed.

Michael Calore: I have to ask about the title. What is a cyclette?

Tree Abraham: It’s a bicycle vignette. So “cycling” in the sense of bicycles, but also in the sense of cycles and spirals, i.e. a kind of circular movement. And a vignette, whether lyrical or non-lyrical, is a small tableau or anecdote.

There are many passages in your book that deal with bicycles and wheels and circles but have nothing to do with cycling. There are a few pages right in the middle that deal with the circular nature of existence.

When I started working on this project, I didn’t know what would become of it. It started with just stories about every bike I had encountered in my life. Allowing myself this freedom to focus on other concepts that are tangentially related was really helpful in building the themes I was exploring.

This is not a traditional bike book. To begin, list any topics not covered in this book. The list is everything you want in a bike book: bike tips, gear recommendations, bike repair tips, David Byrne.

It was an odd book to put up. At first I thought who would want to buy this book that is about bikes but not really about bikes? It’s not for a cycling enthusiast. I think it bridges the line between what’s interesting to someone who rides a bike and what’s interesting to a millennial trying to figure things out in life. You can ignore the bike metaphor and just focus on the rest of the content.

I’ll say right off the bat: be warned, I’m not claiming to be a serious cyclist at all. I’m an average person with a normal upbringing and a normal relationship with bikes. Perhaps I was more into cycling as a mode of transportation, but in the cycling world I would be considered an amateur. It’s just something I love. So if I could find ways to incorporate it into my life or into my travels, I would. But it’s not an obsession.

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