When the slush turns to water and the maintenance crews resurface the gravel of the rail trails, this gal likes to hit the trails with her trusty two-wheeled steed. Whether you’re planning a day outing or a longer trip, every bicycle ride demands the perfect booklist. This list focuses primarily on books about bikes, biking, and all things two-wheeled, but it deviates into titles only tangentially related to bikes. Isn’t that just the way of a journey, to meander and explore? When you’re dreaming up the perfect adventure for the summer, consider these ideal books for your bike tour.
Across America by Bicycle: Alice and Bobbi’s Summer on Wheels by Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery
Ever want to just keep riding? These two know that feel! Honeywell and Montgomery, recently retired, decide to bicycle from Astoria, Oregon, to Bar Harbor, Maine. Along the way, they meet some neat people and have some fun adventures, all the while being some of the nicest people you’ll ever get to read about. Beware! You’ll want to do a cross-country trek of your own after reading this book.
The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
This middle grade book follows the story of Bicycle, whose adventure bicycling across the U.S. mixes a lot of fun with a dash of magic. There’s also a great message: Bicycle learns a lot of perseverance as she finds herself on the road.
Bicycle Book by Gail Gibbons
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about bicycles! This book is both visually appealing and informative in the vein of all of Gibbons’s work. If you’re bicycling with a young child, or teaching a child to ride, this is a great way to introduce them to some history and safety tip.
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
David Byrne of The Talking Heads is a cheerful, if distractible, bicyclist. Don’t expect intense two-wheeled wisdom in this book, but rather a unique and creative person’s impression of the cities through which he has bicycled. Not to be missed, especially for music fans!
Chainbreaker Bike Book: A Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenance by Shelley Lynn Jackson, Ethan Clark
The best bike repair books are hand-illustrated! This charming maintenance book is invaluable on the road or the trail, especially since breakdowns are more a matter of time than probability. Plus, repair manuals are just necessary books for your bike tour. Be prepared!
The Green Bicycle by Haifaa al Mansour
Wadjda wants nothing as badly as a bicycle. She wants to race her friend Abdullah and win! Unfortunately, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, girls don’t ride bikes. Wadjda won’t have an easy time getting her wheels, but a little challenge isn’t about to end her bicycle dreams! If you have older kids, add this middle grade reader to your fiction stash when you pack books for your bike tour.
Penn is a serious bicycle enthusiast, so when he needs a new bike, he decides to build his own. As he descends into the rabbit hole of his bicycle creation journey, he covers the history and culture around biking, ultimately delving into the question of why we ride.
Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris
Forget biking across America. Kate Harris biked across Asia on the Silk Road! In between academic adventures, this longtime exploration enthusiast took it upon herself to explore her own limitations. Travelogues make excellent books for your bike tour, and this one’s no exception.
Leonardo’s Bicycle by Paco Ignacio Taibo II
There’s an iffy legend that Leonardo da Vinci invented the bicycle. That’s probably not true, but it’s a fact that this chaotic but magnetic noir book is an overlooked gem! Investigator-novelist Jose Daniel Ferro is stymied in the progress on his book when he learns of the murder of his favorite athlete. What follows may seem like anarchy, but the way it ultimately ties together will blow your mind.
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi
On the surface, it’s a book about a missing father’s stolen bicycle. But there’s more to this critically acclaimed book than meets the eye. It’s actually about war, history, Taiwan’s dizzying development, and butterfly collectors…and how they all connect to each other.