Cycling For Libraries 2014

Photo Credit: Flickr User Cycling For Libraries - https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclingforlibraries/

Photo Credit: Flickr User Cycling For Libraries – https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclingforlibraries/

I’m excited to say that I have signed up to participate in Cycling For Libraries this year! It’s really the best library conference I have ever attended because it combines all the things I love in life: libraries, advocacy, friends, and cycling. This year’s route is from Montpellier to Lyon, which is 470km ( or about 292 miles). I’ll be joined by about 100 other international librarians and we’ll be stopping at libraries along the way. This event serves two purposes, it’s a great learning opportunity and it also is an advocacy project.

Each participant is asked to focus on a theme or an issue and to get inspiration from others, or from some of the library visits along the trip. I’m focusing on library outreach because in the next year or so, this is going to be a large part of my job duties. I hope to learn more about creative outreach and see what others do. You can read my profile  and the others on the cyc4lib website.

People often ask how far we cycle in a day, and how you get a bike over there. For this trip, the longest distance in a day is 90km which is about 56 miles. We don’t go too fast but training before you go is probably a good idea. If you don’t want to bring your bike for the tour, there’s usually a bike rental option, which is what I am doing this year. It saves me the hassle of trying to deal with bringing my bike overseas. Some day I’d like to bring my own bike for a tour, it’s really made for it, but it just didn’t work out this year.

Anyway, I’ll be trying to post pictures on my Instagram account and tweet my random thoughts on Twitter if you happen to want to follow along. Or just check the #cyc4lib hashtag!

Au revoir!

 

 

 

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Why I Bike

ImageRiding your bike is fun, slightly dangerous sometimes, and good for the environment. In about a month, I’m going to take my first trip abroad to Amsterdam. From there, I’ll be participating in Cycling for Libraries where we’ll be riding bikes from Amsterdam to Brussels, stopping at libraries along the way. I am beyond stoked. We’ll also be stopping in Brugge for a day!

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Ha! I couldn’t resist.

Cycling, seeing libraries, talking about libraries, and hanging out with 99 other library people sounds like a great vacation to me. In order to prepare, I’ve been riding my bike to work. I find it’s a lot easier to incorporate physical activity into my everyday life because I am lazy and wouldn’t do it otherwise.

As I commute to work on my bike, I’ve been reflecting on what I really enjoy about it. First, I value the quiet time that I get on the way to work. It’s just me and the road (and a bunch of cars), I get to think my thoughts and just be outside for awhile. The fresh air is nice before sitting in a freezing cold library all day. Is it the golden rule of all libraries to be freezing? Seems that way. Second, I get to work a lot faster on bike than on bus. Hard to beat that. Third, it’s just good for me physically and mentally. I feel a lot better by the end of the day. I’m sure the endorphins help.

It took me a while to acclimate to cycling in Chicago. I grew up in a mid-sized town in CA, where people really like cycling a lot. There are lots of bike lanes and not so many buses and cars. Chicago is a big city, I never saw myself as an urban cyclist, still don’t really. I rode my bike downtown once and was terrified of being run over by a double-decker tour bus. However, I just had to practice being on the road and remember that the same road rules apply here as they did in that mid-sized town. I’m doing okay! Now to practice riding with a large group…

I hope to have more updates as I venture on my trip. If anyone has tips on touring, riding in large groups, or places to check out in Amsterdam, I’m all ears.