Just like the trip itself was a unique experience, creating a physical piece of memorabilia, comprised of (plenty of) photos and text, was a journey of a different kind.
For the design of the book, I solicited the help of my former co-worker, incredibly talented designer, friend and all around great human being Rachel Frankel. It took us about 18 months to bring this to light, from tossing around ideas at the start to finally holding a copy of the finished product in our hands and eventually seeing it available online for purchase.
— Alastair Humphreys (@Al_Humphreys) September 12, 2018
I decided that I wanted to let the photographs do most of the talking and chose to use a generous selection of images I took along the way to tell the story and visualize the experiences I had along the way. The gaps in between are filled with short content pieces, guiding the reader along through the various sections of the book, from the beginnings in California and the Pacific Coast to the finish line at the White House in Washington, DC.
The book also features one of the most important aspects of my experience: the people I met along the way. It includes 33 portraits of people I crossed paths with and got a glimpse into their world for a brief moment, which I tried to distill into a few paragraphs accompanying each picture. I’d like to thank each one of them for agreeing to be featured in the book.
I know that the price point is not on the cheap side for a book. However, the publishing route I picked (self-publishing through a print-on-demand platform), as well as the layout choices (hardcover, plenty of color photography, about 200 pages) forces me to put the price at that level. At this price point, I essentially break even, just covering the publishing, distribution and production costs.
I am delighted to show this to the world, and if it only inspires one person to venture out of their comfort zone and do something daring, something they are scared of and have no idea whether they could do it, this book is already a success.
In January 2019, I had the opportunity to talk about my journey and present my book at various REI stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. In total, I got to tell my story to about 80 curious folks and hope they took away some interesting bits from it.
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A big heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out and attended my presentation about my cycling journey across the United States from three and a half years ago. About 80 people watched me tell my story across several @REI locations in the Bay Area and I hope they took home some interesting and, possibly, inspirational bits from my talk. It was such a pleasure to talk to and chat with folks who showed interest in my adventure and the topic of traveling by bike in general. To the people who decided to purchase a copy of my book, Highways & Backstreets: Thank you so much for your support! Very much appreciated! It was also terrific to see familiar faces like @davidcalhounphotography and @donutespresso in the audience. Great catching up with you guys! Finally, a big thanks to all the REI Staff Members who hosted me and made me feel welcome at their locations. I will be in touch once the next book is out 😉