Happy Bike to Work Day - even though you biked home by now!
I have a bike in the garage. Its tires are flat and no one has ridden it for years. The thought of setting out on our increasingly congested streets both exhilarates me and scares the bleep out of me. I have fond, fond memories of taking my son and his friends on bike hikes long ago. What an awesome feeling of freedom! Is it too late for me to start biking again?
If more people rode bikes on short journeys, we'd be healthier; we'd use less fossil fuels; our streets would be friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists. So much GOOD on just two wheels.
Bikes feature in a lot of books. Kids on bikes? Must be an adventure in the offing. So here are great books about kids (and grown-ups) on bikes.
Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli. The world of Hokey Pokey is childhood. Bicycles are the best friends of this odd and mesmerizing book about childhood. In Hokey Pokey, adults do not exist. It is a land of games, riding, popsicles, dreaming. When a boy's bike is stolen - by a girl! - his attempt to get it back begins his journey out of Hokey Pokey. I think this book is for adults - like me - who never really wanted to grow up.
The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella. Follow Big Red as the bike journeys from its original owner in the USA to a girl in West Africa who uses it to help in the sorghum fields. Then Big Red moves on to a young woman who needs to carry medications to sick people and even bring those peopl to the hospital. Perhaps, that bike in the garage should find a more useful home.
Wheels of Change : How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom by Sue Macy. Macy gives an overview of women's quest for equal rights by showing how two wheels added mobility to women and impetus to their struggle.
Messenger, Messenger by Robert Burleigh. This picture book, illustrated by Barry Moser, celebrates the bicycle messengers who weave in and out of city streets.
Off we go: a Bear and Mole story by Will Hillenbrand. Today is the day! Mole is ready. Bear takes off the training wheels and hovers as Mole careens off the road and through the fields!
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This is the first of several mysteries starring pre-teen sleuth, Flavia DeLuce. On her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia tools around her small British village in the early '50s. Every book features multiple scenes of Flavia flying along the roads, her braids flapping in the wind. If any series champions bicycles, it's this one. BTW, the series is intended for adults but hardy young readers can handle the slight goriness and disguised adult behavior.
Around the World by Matt Phelan. This graphic novel chronicles three around-the-world adventures from the late 1800s. One of those adventures is on bicycle - undertaken by Thomas Stevens, a former miner. His feat is even more impressive since it was done on a high-wheeler, a bike with an enormous front wheel and a high seat.
Summerlost by Allie Conde. New to a small town, a girl looks out the window to see a boy in medieval dress fly by on a bicycle. There you go, an adventure on wheels.
Genevieve's War by Patricia Reilly Giff. How Genevieve ends up at her Grandmother's farm in Alsace as the Germans march into France is only part of this World War II story. After the Germans steal MeMe's horse and cart, it is her father's bicycle that allows Genevieve to run errands and even, to help the Resistance. Vivie le velo!
Personal note! My nephew is a coach for Pennsylvania Interscholastic Mountain Biking. Mountain bikes can go almost anywhere - to work, to school and over the hills! Check out the PAMB's Facebook page here.