One Bike, One Year is a blog dedicated to stories of water and climate change. This site is maintained by me, Devi Lockwood, a poet, touring cyclist, and storyteller from Boston, USA. I graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in Folklore in Mythology in May 2014.
You can read more of my writing here: devi-lockwood.com/writing
If you have a story about water or climate change that you would like to share, or other items you think would be of interest, please send it to devi-dot-lockwood at gmail. I might take a few days to get back to you while I am on the road, but rest assured that I am eager to hear from you.
At first I thought I would be traveling for a year, hence the name of this blog… oops. The year has come and gone. I left home in September 2014. Somehow along the way, this journey has become my life. I’m taking things one bicycle and one year at a time. 🙂
The focus of my travels is to collect stories from the people I meet. So far I have made audio recordings in the USA, Fiji, and Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand. I started out with financial support from a Gardner & Shaw Postgraduate Traveling Fellowship from Harvard. Now I have a Patreon page, where people support me monthly. I also work part-time as Director of Storytelling (read: Social Media person) for Omprakash, an organization dedicated to making volunteering abroad more ethical, educational, & affordable.
Back in March 2015, I made a commitment to fly less to reduce my environmental footprint. After four months of trying to secure a boat passage to SE Asia, I had to fly from New Zealand to Thailand. I will be traveling overland and oversea as much as possible from here on out. It matters to me to walk the talk.
My bicycle, a Surly Disc Trucker, is called the Bike of 1001 Names, because I’m indecisive.
As a writer, I’m interested in the intersection between poetry and storytelling. How and when does an act of human speech become like a poem? How do poetry and storytelling come together and diverge?
I started asking questions about poetry, water, and climate change during an 800-mile solo bike trip I took along the Mississippi River Trail from Memphis, Tennessee to Venice, Louisiana in August 2013.
I met 57-year-old Franny Connetti eighty miles south of New Orleans. When I stopped in front of her office building to check the air in my bicycle tires, she invited me to get out of the afternoon sun.
Over a shared plate of fried shrimp, Franny told me about 2012’s Hurricane Isaac that washed away her home and her neighborhood.
“We fight for protection of our levees. We fight for our marsh every time we have a hurricane.” Despite the lack of attention that state government officials afford the area, Franny stands by her hometown. She and her husband moved back to their plot of land in a mobile home just a few months after the disaster. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she confessed.
“Do you think there will come a time when people can’t live here anymore?” I asked.
“I think so. Not in my lifetime, but you’ll probably see it.” To imagine the road I had been biking on underwater was chilling. Twenty miles further, I could see where the ocean laps over the road at high tide.
While cycling along the Mississippi River, I collected fifty hours of stories from people like Franny who call the Mississippi riverbanks their home. In my senior thesis, There Are No Straight Lines, I set myself the task of understanding these stories and of transforming them into a book-length manuscript of poems. At times, a single word or phrase sparked a poem. In other cases, I deferred to lengthy transcriptions to capture the rhythm of a storyteller’s speech. I love working with the raw material of others’ words––it has proved to be a river of inspiration.
Now, rather than writing poems from transcriptions, I’m interested in maintaining a record of those voices in the form of high-quality audio recordings.
I’m working on making a map on a website where you can click on a point and listen to a story that someone has told me from that place.
This blog serves as a starting place for travel stories, poems, photos from the journey, and whatever else is on my mind.
My poetry has been published by Split This Rock, Sinister Wisdom, Verse Wisconsin, Cicada, Clockhouse, Adrienne, and elsewhere. I also have nonfiction pieces up at The Guardian, Harvard Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Establishment, and elsewhere.
I always say yes to going on the radio. Radio is magic.
You can make my day & support my work on Patreon — every little bit helps this poet / touring cyclist / storyteller that could continue to keep on keepin’ on.
Safe travels to you, for whatever journey you may be on. Please don’t hesitate to tweet with any comments or questions.