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  • The Joys of Googling Yourself

    September 22nd, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    From time to time I google myself, my company, and Miss Londonderry just to see what interesting things pop up. Today’s efforts were treated to two surprises:

    1. A teenage girl in Oregon listed Annie Cohen Kopchovksy as her hero.
    2. Annie was listed as #14 of “50 Women Little Girls Should Admire Instead of Symbols of Stupidity and Weakness,” flanked by other visionaries such as Tina Fey, Vera Wang, Angela Merkel, Maya Angelou, SARK, Eve Ensler, and Coco Chanel. :-)

    We haven’t even completed the film yet, but already we’re well on our way to accomplishing our goal. One of the main reasons why Spokeswoman Productions is producing “The New Woman”  is because we feel that Annie’s story is too fascinating and inspirational to be forgotten. Scholarly journals should analyze the impact of her journey, sports marketing books should recognize her as an early pioneer, and children should learn about her in school, so that when they think of the famous Annie of the 19th century, Annie Oakley isn’t the only one that comes to mind. I’m thrilled to learn those who  caught wind of our Back-in-Bloomers-doings over the past few months have clearly caught the Annie fever. Feel the burn!

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    مخرجتان تروجان لتاريخ رياضة ركوب الدراجات

    August 30th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Annie goes global once again! Jessica Gould’s article about Back in Bloomers, which appeared last week in Womens enews, has been translated into what I believe is Arabic. I hope our readers on the other side of the globe get in touch with us, and share their thoughts on Annie!

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    Annie in the Christian Science Monitor: Part 2

    August 30th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Read part two of Peter Zheutlin’s article in the Christian Science Monitor: Backstory: Retracing

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    Annie in the Christian Science Monitor: Part 1

    August 28th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    In the August 28 issue of the Christian Science Monitor, Peter Zheutlin of Team Londonderry writes a feature story on Annie Londonderry, entitled Chasing Annie Londonderry.

    Check back tomorrow for a link to Part 2: Who was Annie Londonderry?

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »


    Women’s E-News Article

    August 24th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Spokeswoman’s Unofficial Correspondent, Jessica Gould, hits it again. She wrote an awesome article about Back in Bloomers, called “Back in Bloomers: Filmmakers Pedal Sports History.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »


    Day 8 BIB- The Final Spoke

    August 21st, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Back in Bloomers ended much as it began: full of fanfare in a fantastic city, with high spirits and energy, and with celebrations with friends and family.

    Team Londonderry checked out of our complimentary rooms at the Marriott at Courtyard- Rye (thank you!!!) and rode about 5 miles to Mary and Paul Goldiner’s house in Larchmont, where a delicious breakfast spread awaited us!

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    Mary and Paul Goldiner, their relatives, and Team Londonderry

    As some of you may know, Mary is Annie’s granddaughter, and is also the only living human being to know Annie. [If there are any of you out there, now would be a great time to step forward.] Annie died when Mary was 16 years old and, as such, Mary has been a wealth of intimate details about Annie’s character. In fact, her charisma and story-telling talents make us feel as though we’ve found a little piece of Annie.

    In Larchmont we picked up some additional riders including Jody Kauffman, Vinny Reina, Virginia, Newt, and Heath. Danny Zheutlin had also rejoined us in Rye, so Team Londonderry grew to be 10 members strong for our final day of riding. The ride ahead posed two distinct challenges: we would not be accompanied by our support entourage, because they had to forge ahead to check into the hotel and set up in Washington Square Park. And we would be riding through NYC, by far our most challenging urban terrain.

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    Indeed, i think most of the riders would agree that the Bronx portion of the ride proved to be slightly anxiety-producing, to say the least. We thought cycling into downtown New Haven was hairy, but it was a picnic compared to our entry into NYC! Saturday shopping traffic was in full force, cabs were winding in and out of the right/bike lane, and the accordian, mac-truck size metro buses paid little attention to us lowly cyclists. Those of us who are unaccustomed to this type of urban warfare (most of us actually), quickly learned that we would have to ride defensively in order to survive. And survive we did! Gary, on the other hand, was grinning from ear to ear, and was completely in his high-wheeling element. He said it’s his favorite kind of riding, just “him vs. the city.” Watch out New York!

    Once we hit the West Side Highway Bike path, it was basically 18 miles of coasting until we turned into the downtown maze and prepared to ride to the arch in Washington Square Park. It was our Champs L’Ellysees Moment, when “We are the Champions” and “Chariots of Fire” were looped on our mental soundtrack, as we triumphantly pedaled our last half mile down fifth avenue. Free of performance enhancing drugs (do Luna bars count?), and with little training, we were about to complete a historic Boston to New York cycling adventure. As we prepared to enter the park, the last light turned red, affording us a few final moments to savor the glory of Back in Bloomers. I turned around to look at Team Londonderry, and the glow of everyone’s faces signalled ” a job well done!.” Green lightp- we sailed in to Washington Square Park, 30 minutes ahead of schedule!

    After “setting up shop” near the fountain, we did one last Back in Bloomers “Dog and Pony Show”. Meghan and I introduced our film and sold t-shirts, Ben sang, Mike quizzed, and Gary introduced the freaks and passersby in WSP to “the fun machine.” As we looped our “show,” dozens gathered to learn about Back in Bloomers, and about the intricacies of riding a high wheel bike.After Washington Square Park, Team Londonderry divided to shower and prepare for the party, and reconvened at Mundial Bar & Loungue in the East Village. The party was an overwhelming success, and the proceeds totalled about $2,800. My mom, Sharon Klempner, did a masterful job of decking the bar out in Spokeswoman’s colors, not to mention a fanastic spread of finger foods. Thanks also to Karen and Bill Klempner, and Alexis Mate for providing additional fruit and baked goods!

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    Gillian, in evening bloomer-wear, with Kristin and Kevin; Ben performs at Mundial

    So many of our friends and family showed up that it seemd more like a “Shea Klempner” wedding, than a Back in Bloomers Party. Both of us had high school friends, college friends, and tons of relatives! Not to mention the friends of Ben, Mike, Peter, and Gary! We feel so lucky to know so many supportive and fantastic people, so thank you all for coming to celebrate with us!In addition to gourmet fare, guests were treated to some tunes by Ben Willman, who played two sets off his upcoming EP in the back room. There was a brief video demonstration, but technical difficulties caused us to cut it a bit short. The back room housed the Silent Auction, and here are the winners in case you’re curious:

    -VIP Tickets to the Daily Show: Lee and Tiffany Lewis, and Bill and Karen Klempner
    -One Hour Massage: Jason Schmidt
    -House Portrait by Meghan: Joe Zammit
    -Book Club Cook Books: Kathy Shea and Gillian Klempner

    In the words of Jessica Gould, we partied “like it was 1895,” and we toasted the finale of Back in Bloomers with a swank party that I’m quite sure would have made Annie proud.

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    The Bicycle Thief- Day 6

    August 19th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Blog by Meghan

    We left Madison with a breakfast at Nick’s, a local hotspot, courtesy of The Spillanes, our hosts for the previous night. The Spillanes are authorities on antique bikes. In fact, the Spillanes  built Gary’s first high wheel bike. Their home is a work shop brimming with books, posters, magazines, spokes, saddles and wheels all speaking to specific bikes with specific pieces, parts, and social histories. Chaos and order all under the same barn roofing, they are one of the few places in the country that does this type of creation and restoration. The Spillanes, active members of the Wheelmen Association, hosted us the night prior and then accompanied us on the beginning of our ride…. in full period costume.

    Their outfits made our bloomers were modest and very modern by comparison. Jim Spillane III wore suspenders, navy britches, knee socks and cap, and rode atop a high wheel bike. At his side, Jackie rode an 1890s women’s tricycle, a charming hat with angora trim, brooch, lace blouse, Victorian skirt and boots. A flat tire had them leaving us a tad early, but the accompaniment provided us fanfare and hoopla- Annie would have approved!
    The rest of us riders pressed on into New Haven. While driving through the smokestacks of a scenic industrial park we crossed over some railroad tracks. Unbeknownst to me there was a sign to the right of the tracks with the universal symbol for bicycle and then frantic zigzags— to some clever graphic designer this apparently indicates danger for cyclists. I however missed this que and, at day 6 of the ride, feeling confident, pressed on…….THWACK!!!!

    Woman down- I was kissing the pavement; after a tuck and roll to the side worthy of Jackie Chan stunt double, I am up on my feet, with Peter helping me and brushing me off.
    Now disheveled, bloody, the damage was superficial. Knee catches the fall, scraped up one leg and the other catches the metal of the pedal. With my bleeding legs, I do however look the part of ‘intense biker chick’. Leg wound, “The new black.”

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    Meghan and Mike pose with the high wheel. Note Meghan’s war wounds


    We ride on, not to be deterred into New Haven, where the day prior a large antique bike had been stolen from a local bike shop and this theft was the newstory of the week. Not ten minutes into the city Gary was questioned several times and asked if this indeed was the stolen bike. One would however assume that a 6 foot tall man in a bright pink shirt with a handle bar mustache on a high wheel bike was not ‘good’ discreet criminal behavior. But, then again,  I do not know the inner workings of the antique bike theft ring.

    The final person to question Gary before leaving New Haven was a police officer perched atop her horse, mostly likely the only person who had a head over Gary the entire trip.

    The day ended with incredible hospitality in Trumbull at the Shah residence. A warm reception complete with a feast of Indian food was our reward for a day of injury and accusation. The accommodations, chai, and conversation were wonderful. Thank you again.

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    Dr. & Dr. Shah in their kitchen, and Dr. Shah preparing our feast

    As an addendum I would like to add that the support guys did a superior job bandaging my wounds and commenting with expletives such as “Jumping Jellyfish Batman, that wound is wily!”

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


    Day 7 BIB

    August 19th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    Our second to last day of cycling began very early We left the Shah’s house in Trumbull well fed and well rested. The day started out beautifully. The morning was a cool one, and as we headed to the coast of Bridgeport, we could smell the sea air and we were eager to set eyes on the Long Island sound! So eager in fact that when we got near the water, we strayed from our original route so that we could follow a bike path that went along the beach. Unfortunately it turned out to be the path to nowhere, and we had to take a long, gravelly detour to get back to the main ride. But by then, our mini-disaster had already struck! Meghan’s tire was punctured, and she had her first flat! And, to make matters worse, a bird pooped on her at the very moment that she realized her tire was flat.

    So that was sort of a bummer, but things quickly improved once we got the tire situation figured out. As we entered the more historic part of Bridgeport, and then Westport and Fairfield, we found ourselves on winding suburban roads, overlooking vistas that looked as though they belonged in Oxford, or Yorkfordshire, or something else quaint that ends in “shire.”

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    Team Londonderry in Westport-shire (l); Coasting into Trumbull (r)

    What we thought was going to be a 35 mile ride to Rye turned out to be a 55 mile day, which made it by far the longest day of Back in Bloomers. But 11 hours after leaving the Shah’s in Trumbull, we arrived at the Marriott Courtyard in Rye, where I now sit, savoring the wireless connection, making final PR efforts for tomorrow.

    It’s hard to believe that Back in Bloomers ends tomorrow and that, come Monday morning, things will be Back in Business Casual….back to the daily grind of non-cycling, non-street performing lives! It’s easy to imagine why in 1895, Annie was so tempted to leave her responsibilities behind and seek adventure on the open ride. It’s entirely infectious and despite my sore quads and slight saddle soreness, I’d be quite happy to hop on my bike again on Monday morning and continue all the way down to Florida, and then some!

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    Artsy shot of Gary with his bike
    Tomorrow is a big day and the final day of Back in Bloomers. After riding to Larchmont NY and having breakfast at the home of Mary Goldiner, Annie’s grand-daughter, we will meet up with some other cyclists at the train station. Team Londonderry will once again expand to mini-parade size, as we proudly cycle in to our finish in Washington Square Park. And then, from 6-9:30 pm, at Mundial Bar in the East Village, we will party like it’s 1895! Ben will perform, videos will be shown, and lots of fun items will be available at the silent auction.

    Until then!

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    Day 5 BIB (addendum)

    August 19th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    To add to Ben and Mike’s blog about Day 5- Mystic to Madison

    On Wednesday we had a unique invitation. As we stopped for lunch on our ride from Mystic to Madison, we received a call from the Dir. of PR for the Connecticut Defenders, a MLB team. They had heard about us somehow (probably from one of the Mystic papers) and they wanted us to come “perform” in their concourse! Unfortunately we weren’t able to make it that night because we already had plans in Madison, but what a cool offer!

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    Day 5 BIB (Posting by Ben and Mike)

    August 17th, 2006 by Spokeswoman

    BLOGS BY MIKE AND BEN

    This morning, Mike Rogers and I, the Director of Photography/support guy and the support guy/support guy – woke up early, and worked out in the gym. This, we believe evens out, temporarily, the moral high-ground that all-day excercise usually affords by Meghan, Gillian, and the other riders.

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    We pulled out of the luscious Marriott Spa and began what would be a fairly long hot ride from Mystic CT. For the riders. I went through the entire Clash album London Calling in air-conditioning. Mike went with the radio, and working on his laptop in between stops.

    A support guy has several important responsibilities. First, keeping ice in the cooler, keeping drinks cool, and luna-bars handy. Second we have to generally be near the riders; should something happen, we can be heroes.

    But Mike and I have a second set of secret personalities where I am Robin and Mike is Batman, and it is my favorite. I play the driver and Mike is the maverick camera man, shooting out the back of the van on his custom-built, self-designed camera mount; out of the side of the van; standing through the sunroof; hiding in the bushes; lying belly-down on bridges catching the biking team coming over the crest in the morning sun; We have a joke – instead of “Where’s Waldo?”, the riders play “Where’s Mike (and Robin)?” as we may be hiding in any bush, tree or creek around the next bend. The only thing that creeps me out in our maverick/xtreme-camera-and-driver real-life fantasy game is that the driver is always the one that seems to get killed in some far-away place in the world. (Blog by Ben)

    Good day sir. I have always said that Robin was funny, it was just that Batman was always so selfish he never got his chance in the limelight. However, on this trip both Batman and Robin understand the importance of teamwork. Afterall, there’s no “I” in team!

    So on the fifth day, here’s some highlights in the form of bullets.

    1. Mike and Ben and Peter save the day by changing Gillians’ tire.

    2. Mike and Ben save the day by providing ice cold beverages at the riders beck and call.

    3. Mike and Ben (Batman and Robin) arrived safely to their destination barely escaping the army of sasquaches of Madison. Yes, support guys rule once again!!! (blog portion by Mike Rogers)

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