New ‘Bike to Books’ initiative brings bike-themed storytimes to Portland libraries

Posted by on May 6th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Bike books on display at the North Portland Library.(Photo: Josh Berezin)

Bike books on display at the North Portland Library.
(Photo: Josh Berezin)

If we want the next generation to grow up with a fresh perspective on how we get around, then storytime is a powerful place to start. As a bike geek and dad of three I’m always on the lookout for fun children’s books that show cycling in a positive and fun light, so I was thrilled to hear about the City of Portland’s new “Bike to Books” initiative.

It’s a super-smart way to encourage more neighborhood biking and reading among kids.

Bike to Books is part of PDX Bike Month. Also in on the deal is Multnomah Country Library and Metro.

Here’s what they’ve put together: Everyone who bikes to the library will get a free bike light courtesy of Metro; PBOT’s marketing team will give out free bike maps and share family biking info; and the libraries will offer 18 bike-themed storytime sessions at branches throughout the city.


The program kicked off this morning at the Holgate Library in southeast Portland with photo-ops and even storytimes with special guests like Commissioner Steve Novick, PBOT Director Leah Treat, Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, and County Library Director Vailey Oehlkeand. A statement released by PBOT after the event said, “Books and bikes are two pillars of Portland culture.”

Besides riding to school with kids, riding to our local library is the most common family ride we do in the Maus family. Map out the route to your local branch and give it a try! If you need some recommendations for good bike books, check out a list we shared a few years ago (our family favorites are Duck on a Bike, Supergrandpa, and Bear on a Bike).

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Emily Guise (Contributor)

Yay! Two of my favorite things, together! My favorite book about biking is Full Tilt: Ireland to India on a Bicycle, by Dervla Murphy. It’s an adventurous bike touring tale by a great storyteller.

And PS- it’s not just kids who can get a free light- it’s anyone who bikes to the library.


One of my favorite reads (other than Metal Cowboy’s adventures, of course) was “Catfish and Mandala” by Andrew X. Pham. It’s his story of returning to and riding across his country of birth on a beat up mountain bike after fleeing as a very young refugee. It’s not so much about the bike as it is about the experience, but a memorable story.

Caitlin D

I love this! My 3-year-old son and I picked up our free bike lights on our monthly trip to Belmont Library a few days ago, and he was so excited to put his new light on his balance bike when we got home. Thanks, Metro!