I want to thank Cody and Diane for the cool book, Mike and the Bike. At first, I thought it was just a neat little gift they gave me for my birthday. But after reading it and checking out the credits on the people who had put it together, it became quite an educational odyssey. After a couple of hours of Googling and You Tubing, I learned that Michael Ward, the guy who conceived and wrote the book, is a guitar player of some renown. Formerly with Jakob Dylan's band, the Wallflowers, he now plays guitar for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. I don't know if Cody and Diane knew this at the time they bought the book or if it is just a coincidence, but Ward and I have an eerie resemblance since I shaved my head. Of course, I also look a lot like Shell Silverstien when I'm bald. The big difference is I don't play the guitar or write stories as well as either of them so I'm not sure it really means anything.I don't know, maybe it's just the eyes.
But back to the book. There is a CD that comes with it that includes and introduction by Lance Armstrong. It is quite a story in itself how Ward and Armstrong became friends. They met back stage at a show in Texas in which the Wallflowers were the opening act for Sherill Crowe. Lance invited Michael to breakfast the next morning and to make a long story short, they became fast friends and riding partners. Ward ultimately began working with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, an organization that assists cancer patients. Over the course of time, Armstrong introduced Ward to Phil Liggett who is know as the "Voice of Cycling". He has written and commentated on thirty two Tours de France races and ten Olympics and agreed to narrate the CD for Mike and the Bike. Ward's young son, Tennessee, gets musical credit and sings the lyrics on the CD tracks.This is Michael Ward's first children's book and a percentage of the proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is quite a departure from the world of rock and roll where he has spent much of his creative life. There is an official Mike and the Bike website, http://www.mikeandthebike.com/, where you can hear the songs and see some videos and link to Michael Ward's blog as well. I have put up a couple of Ward tunes on my play list, one with the Wallflowers and one with Ben Harper.