Free (wheeling) spirit

Cathy Davidson Kerr's love affair with bicycling began in the basement of Merion in 1969. She found a "beat-up junker" there and in a spirit of rebellion-her parents had not allowed her to have a bike-fixed up the rusty three-speed and called it her own, using it to commute to and from Haverford.

Today her micro-publishing company, Freewheeling Press, combines her three great loves: bicycling, writing and family. She has written three of its four books on biking in the area, conducting research while riding with her husband (Chris, Hfd '73) and two children. She edits and designs pages and maps in her home office, outsourcing more complex tasks, such as cover designs, printing and distribution. Kerr says she did not go the more traditional route-submitting manuscripts to publishers-because she values having a lot of control over the finished product. "I have tried hard to design books that would really be useful for the cyclists who buy them," she says. Spiral binding, maps that repeat as the directions continue onto the next page, and tear-out maps are examples of unusual design features in Freewheeling Press's books.

Her advice to those entering the world of self-publishing: Find a clearly defined niche that no one else is addressing and "some kindred spirits" on the Internet; she says she learned the most about self-publishing through an on-line discussion group. A "Bryn Mawr mentality" also helps: "As a student I loved learning new things. Bryn Mawr fostered that. It's really exiting to learn something totally new and just jump in and find out about it."


Cathy Kerr '73 on a walking tour of Britain, the inspiration for her next book.

As such, it should not surprise that Freewheeling Press has switched gears with its newest book-about walking. "The English walk as if it were a sport that anyone with good sense would enjoy," Kerr says. "Maybe if it were presented to them differently, Americans would learn to love it, too."

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