Join Matt Biers-Ariel as he shares stories and photos from cycling 3,804 miles across the country with his family from the Pacific Ocean, across the Rockies, through Midwest small towns, and all the way to Washington D.C. on a creaky tandem bicycle nicknamed "The Beast." Biers-Ariel will be presenting from his new book, "The Bar Mitzvah and the Beast: One Family's Cross-Country Ride of Passage by Bike," at the Olympia Timberland Library on Friday, June 22 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. The presentation takes place after regular library hours.
The book is a funny, thoughtful memoir of an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey by bicycle, and a warm exploration of the bond between a spiritual, nature-loving father and his ambivalent, computer game-loving son.
An amateur bike rider, father of three, and public school teacher, Biers-Ariel never dreamed of riding a bike across the United States. But his hard-to-impress teenage son, Yonah, refused to have a bar mitzvah as he approached age thirteen. Yet this traditional rite of passage had to be celebrated.
So Biers-Ariel, his wife Djina, Yonah, and little brother Solomon saddled up for a physical ride of passage across America, chatting with colorful characters along the way, roasting marshmallows at campgrounds, and quarrelling over the state of climate change, religious identity, and several flat tires.
Biers-Ariel teaches English at Winters High School in California. Prior to becoming a public school teacher, he held a variety of educational positions in the Jewish community. He is contributor to the Perspectives series on KQED radio and has done commentary on NPR's All Things Considered. Biers-Ariel performs as a storyteller and does workshops for Jewish educators throughout the country. He is an active member in two bicycle lobbying and educational organizations. He is also active in the environmental organizations The Sierra Club and 350.org. He commutes 5,000 miles a year on his bike.
The Olympia Timberland Library is at 313 8th Avenue SE. For more information, please contact the library at (360) 352-0595 or go to www.TRL.org.