Bike Everywhere Day with Books on Bikes!

How is your Bike to Work Month going? At the Library, we’re bike enthusiasts all the time. Perhaps you’ve heard about our Books on Bikes program. We can thank Jared Mills and Linda Johns for initiating this grant-funded pilot program in 2013, setting up customized trailers and a special collection of library materials of 400 popular titles that can be biked around to different events in the neighborhood [1]. Books on Bikes, or BoB, is a great community resource that can serve patrons who might not be able (or want to) go into a library branch, registering new borrowers, checking items out, or just hanging out together in the park. In the beginning the BoB team would haul bike trailers ranging from 18-40 pounds [2] and capable of lugging 500 pounds of materials [3], from Central Library all the way to places like Seward Park, then back again. That’s a load of commitment! Continue reading “Bike Everywhere Day with Books on Bikes!”

May is National Bike Month!

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” – Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or beginner, now is a good time to re-commit to Pedal Power. Perhaps you want more exercise. Perhaps you feel guilty with your greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps you want to know Seattle better, in which case cycling will bring you to new streets. And perhaps you are like me, wishing you knew bike mechanics so you don’t have to purchase tune-up packages once a year.

It won’t surprise you that we have fabulous books about bikes in our library system. Here are a few of my recommendations:

everyday bicyclingEveryday Bicycling: Ride a Bike for Transportation (Whatever Your Lifestyle) by Elly Blue

Witty and accessible, this book shows how cycling can be fun for anyone – even for the beginner’s learning curve. Learn rules of the road – and how to keep yourself out of embarrassing accidents. Read about possible dilemmas not often talked about, such as crotch health. And receive tips on how to organize your own community activities like neighborhood rides (because it’s more fun with more than one). Continue reading “May is National Bike Month!”

The rescued photos of Allen and Sachtleben

Join us in the Central Library Microsoft Auditorium on July 11th at 7 p.m. as we welcome bicycle historian, David V. Herlihy, author of The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of An American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance and Bicycle: The History. Herlihy will present a selection of historical photographs of early bicycle tourists, Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben, from UCLA’s special collections.  

In addition, the author will provide a glimpse into the life and times of adventurous 19th century “wheelmen,” young men who could withstand bone-jarring discomfort in exchange for the excitement of cycling. Herlihy’s recent book tells the story of one of those young men, handsome bookkeeper Frank Lenz, who decided to set out on his own to circle the globe. His method of travel was a new “safety,” the straightforward term for bicycles as we know them now, with wheels of the same size. Continue reading “The rescued photos of Allen and Sachtleben”

Your Next 5 Books: For a family that cycles together

In this column we regularly highlight a Your Next 5 Books submission that we find interesting, funny, unique, or useful to other readers. Submit Your Next 5 Books entry now, or stop by and see us in person, and maybe you could see your (anonymous) reading habits on Shelf Talk!

Ride your bike to work (and fix it too)!

How did you get to work today? If you’re like the vast majority of Seattle residents, chances are good that you drove your car or took the bus. On your commute, you probably saw at least a few people riding bicycles: according to the most recent US Census data, 3.6 percent of Seattlites use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to work. That may not sound like much, but Seattle is now second only to Portland in the number of bicycle commuters nationwide. In the past year, the number of people biking to work in Seattle increased by 22 percent.

Image of the Flying Cyclist, courtesy of AbbyWant to join the ever-expanding ranks of Seattle’s urban cyclists? The Seattle Public Library is here to help. As part of the fall Urban Self-Reliance program series, the Library is offering “Introduction to Bike Commuting” classes at five branches around the city. A certified Cascade Bicycle Club instructor will cover many topics of interest to budding cycle commuters including rules of the road, route planning, cycling gear and much more!

If you’re already riding around town but feel helpless when you get a flat tire, check out the Bicycle Maintenance classes in the same series. Friendly, knowledgeable instructors from the Bikery will teach you how to fix a flat, lubricate your drive chain, adjust your brakes and more. All classes are free and do not require advance registration.

If you can’t make it to these classes, or want to learn more about bicycle commuting and maintenance, the Library has many great books on these subjects in our collections. Here’s a short list to get you started:

On bicycle commuting and urban cycling:

On bicycle maintenance and repair:

Check ’em out, and start riding (and fixing) your bicycle today!