Railbike build in progress.
We’ve since tested out the design. The bike rides on the rails like a dream.
Over the next two months Audrey Snyder and I will be working on a project, entitled Parallel Cases, which will take us clear across the country and throughout California and Oregon. We have been honored as fellows of the Benjamin Menschel Fellowship from the Cooper Union for the project. In a nutshell, we are taking a small letterpress, ink, metal type, and a couple of railbikes (bicycles outfitted for travel on railroad tracks) out to California where we will travel and print along several hundred miles of abandoned railroad trackage. These areas of abandoned railroad tracks that once connected areas of industrial production and raw materials with metropolitan areas within the state but are now unused. We have modified bicycles, adding a clamp attachment to the front wheel and an outrigger which allows us to ride on the rails. This project was inspired by the legacy of the tramp printers, a group of itinerant type setters during the golden days of type who hopped freight trains from town to town in search of a couple days work. According to their tradition, a printer’s training was not complete until they were traveled. Through Parallel Cases, we endeavor to take up the methods and means of the tramp printers as a way to both collect and distribute our findings. We have proposed this project as a way to is to situate ourselves in this lost landscape by traveling a series of abandoned train tracks in Northern California on rail-bikes with the aim of producing a primary document of our experience of the past and present states of the lines we travel.
We begin our journey West this week and will soon end up in San Francisco. We will then begin railbiking and typesetting in earnest. We hope to exhibit a number of the prints and artifacts from our trip in San Francisco and will exhibit the entire body of work at the Cooper Union come next fall. We will also periodically update a project blog with updates, prints, discoveries, and anything else that comes our way. Please follow along at: http://parallelcases.tumblr.com/