Books and Bikes

Bikes and Books together at the Peterborough Public Library

Bicycle Museum Pop-up at the PPL for the month of December, along with staff picked books on bikes and history

Originally Published November 11, 2018

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Kate Jarrett, Children’s Services Librarian

Why are books and bikes important?

Reading and riding…two of the my favourite things to do. Put them together and I am one happy soul.

What is your favourite bike book?

As I am currently the acting Children’s Services Librarian I have so many favourite children’s books about bicycles, especially picture books! There are the beloved literary characters who all have adventures while riding bikes: Franklin, Froggy, Bear and Mole, Frog and Toad, and Curious George. And then there are bicycle stories that help us understand the importance of bicycles in different cultures such as, In A Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton and for refugees, Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish. But one of my all time favourites for story time sharing is Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. Imaginative, fun and delightfully illustrated this always brings smiles to children and adults alike.

What is your fave place to bike in Peterborough?

One of my favourite places to bike in Peterborough is in Jackson Park. The trail is part of the TransCanada Trail and takes you through some of those most beautiful parts of Peterborough. There are also great bike lanes that are becoming more prominent in Peterborough every year and there’s a great map of bike trails available in the city and the county.

Why is the library important to Peterborough?

The library is a free, welcoming space that has so much to offer. There is literally something for everyone. I love that our accessibility to books, information, online resources, wifi, public computers and a wide range of programs for babies to seniors can serve our entire community.

Why is history important?

Knowing our past helps us understand our present and dream of future possibilities. I love that we are finally learning more of the rich Indigenous history of Nogojiwanong (Peterborough) which means “the place at the end of the rapids.” I love that we have a thriving downtown that is a blend of old and new designs and that our Peterborough Museum and Archives exists to showcase our history.

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Howard Gibbs, Circulation Clerk

 What are your favourite bike books?

I’m currently reading The Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne on the recommendation of a cycling friend. An enjoyable read, especially at this time of year when most of us are preparing to hunker down for a spell. A travelogue (bike-a-log?) filled with Byrne’s observations from the saddle as he bikes around the cities he visits while on tour with his band or presenting his artwork…

More Songs About Buildings & Bikes (And indeed, Food!)

Richards’ Bicycle Maintainance by Richards’ Ballantine & Grant is a great resource, and in fact does contain almost “everything you need to know to keep your bicycle in peak condition” and that in turn keeps your mechanic happy when it’s time to bring in the pros.

Finally, a family favourite in my house, The Bike Lesson starring The Berenstain Bears. Still funny after hundreds of bedtimes, Papa Bear attempts to impart fatherly wisdom, hilarity ensues… also applies to kayaks.

Favourite place to bike in Peterborough?  

I’m sure most of us enjoy the Rotary Trail, my favourite stretch is from East City in to Downtown, travelling behind the Kawartha Credit Union, down the hill past the Tennis Club then under the Hunter St. Bridge, stopping to enjoy the murals and play with the echo, then snaking along Engleburn Ave. and crossing the river via the railway bridge. Then it’s a tough decision… stop in at the Silver Bean for some ‘motivation’ or press on with the errands!

I am a fair weather winter commuter… If there’s a lot of ice or snow on the roads, or when the mercury starts venturing south of -10, I tend to lace up my hiking boots and enjoy hoofing it instead.

Why are books and bikes important?

Remember when you were a kid, and you’d be out on your bike all day, and ride all over everywhere because it just felt so cool?

It still feels that cool… also applies to books.

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Karen Bisschop, Adult and Information Services Librarian

Why are books and bikes important?

Books do so much for us—they can entertain, inform and transform us. Sometimes they help us pass the time, and sometimes they are a means to an end. You could say the same about bikes—sometimes a bike can take you on a beautiful journey, and sometimes it’s just an economical and environmentally friendly way to get to work!

What is your fave bike book?

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. It’s a children’s picture book with amazing illustrations of a duck, plus a whole bunch of farm animals who discover the joy of cycling.

What is your fave place to bike in Peterborough?

It’s so hard to choose! I’d have to say a route around Little Lake that includes Millenium Park, the rail bridge, Roger’s Cove, and Beavermead. Swinging back, it’s always nice to stop at the Silver Bean. I do not bike in winter, as the wind on my face makes my eyes tear up, and I just look sad.

Why is the library important to Peterborough?

Oh, so many reasons, but mostly, because it builds community by creating spaces, collections and programs that support individual and collective discovery and growth.

Why is history important?

History tells us who we are—it’s the story of how we got here with all views and beliefs, our public and private institutions and systems of government.

What is your favourite history book?

I don’t read a lot of history books per se, but I do read biographies from time to time, as well as historical fiction. One recent fun one for library-lovers is Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict, about the possible love-affair between Andrew Carnegie and his mother’s lady’s maid. Carnegie is now known as a ruthless industrialist, but also as the philanthropist responsible for the building of hundreds of public libraries across North America. The book poses the question, who or what softened his heart?

The Bicycle Museum Pop-up for Peterborough moves to the library on Dec. 3 at noon and will be on display until the new year. More info at:


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