#TeamJetlagged Featured Jetter: Marika McCoola

#TeamJetlagged is excited to announce the start of a new blog series: Featured Jetter!

Featured Jetter

A Featured Jetter is someone who either has diabetes/is involved in the diabetes world, or is a bike rider of some sort/is involved in the biking world, or both. While we started this blog to share our journey of raising $11k for the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, CA this October 2018 (donate here!), a blog only about us would be, well, kinda boring. In doing this ride, we wanted to connect with the wider diabetes and biking communities, and in doing this blog, we’ve decided we would like to raise up and highlight some amazing people doing wonderful work. We are pleased to announce our inaugural Jetter: Marika McCoola!

Featured Jetter - Marika

Broche first met Marika when Broche was working for The Odyssey Bookshop, a great independent bookstore in South Hadley, Massachusetts, right across the road from Mount Holyoke College in the Pioneer Valley. Broche was moving on to a publishing internship in Boston, and Marika was taking over as the Children’s Department Manager at The Odyssey. Coincidentally, Marika was also going through the same Master’s program Broche went through, the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children from Simmons College, held at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. In short, they had a lot in common, and have stayed connected through the years. Broche was thrilled to be able to hand-sell Marika’s New York Times best-selling first book, Baba Yaga’s Assistant, when it came out in 2015. Marika’s newest project has been a series of comics about her life, which includes a lot of biking (see some of her WIP images below). Read on!

Featured Jetter: Marika McCoola

Marika self-portrait.jpeg

What is your relation to biking and/or diabetes?
I grew up in a family that biked. One summer my parents decided we needed a car free vacation and so we biked around Lake Champlain, staying in motels each night. Another summer I did a week long biking trip with a summer camp. In high school, not having time to both exercise and study, I would go out on the tandem with my dad. I’d tape notes to his back and study them as we rode. I didn’t bike a lot in college and grad school, but when I moved to the Boston area three and a half years ago I realized biking was faster than every other form of transportation, so I began biking to get around; I can’t imagine life without a bike now.

How has biking and/or diabetes impacted your life?

Biking is my primary form of transportation so it’s an integral part of my daily life. Biking in a city, you become more aware of the urban planning (or lack thereof).

What is your next goal related to biking and/or diabetes?

I need to learn how to properly tune my bike. I’m thinking of asking a friend who works at a bike shop if she’ll give me a lesson.

What is one idea, person, group, organization, or resource about biking and/or diabetes that you would like to share?

You & a Bike & a Road by Eleanor Davis is one of the best books I read in 2017. In it, Davis chronicles her trip biking across the country. She perfectly captures the boomerang of feelings you get while doing a long ride, from the “why do I do this to myself, I hate my life,” to euphoria. The fluid, expressive drawings are stunning and her musings will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
[Broche immediately put this on her TBR list and will report back. Thank you for that great recommendation, Marika!]

What is your connection to #TeamJetlagged?

Broche trained me to be the Children’s Department Manager at The Odyssey Bookshop, so bookselling connected us (which is why you really have to read You & a Bike & a Road). [Yes!]

What song should we add to our biking playlist?

As a city cyclist, I never listen to music when I ride, so this is a hard one…

On that note, perhaps “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel?
[That is one of Broche’s favorite songs, and last year, she became a little bit obsessed with this version by the heavy metal band Disturbed. Check out the #TeamJetlagged “Featured Jetter Recommends” YouTube playlist!]

Here are a few images from Marika’s current sketchbooks, focusing on her biking life:
To find out more about Marika, and to see some more of her amazing work, you can find her online here:
Instagram (where comics are currently being posted): @marikamccoola
Facebook Page: @MarikaMcCoolaWriter
If you or someone you know would make a good Featured Jetter profile, let us know! TeamJetlagged(at)gmail(dot)com
Don’t forget to DONATE today to help us raise $11k for diabetes research during our JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, CA this October 2018!

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