Think of a Book Ride as a literary festival on two wheels, delivered in a safe and engaging parade format with plenty of stops along the way. Local authors read from their books at points of interest along a street, and audiences have a chance to ask questions and have their books signed. When authors ride along it turns into a mobile book club meeting! Organizers select the route as a vital street that needs infrastructure improvements to promote cycling and pedestrian traffic; for example, protected bike lanes, more bike parking, or a "pocket park" instead of parking for cars. Local libraries and bookstores make the books available for borrowing and purchase before the Book Ride.
We're now booking speaking engagements on how to promote arts and cycling infrastructure in your community
Since 2014, we have produced Book Rides that bring together literary and cycling communities. We have a proven track record of engaging key changemakers in government and non-profit organizations by using a mix of vibrant programming and eclectic media to raise awareness of safe cycling infrastructure, literacy, and the arts. And now we want to share our story with you. We're booking invitations to speak about how we took The Reading Line from a crazy idea into a multi-city festival that regularly includes bestselling authors and makes national and local media. Whether you're an arts non-profit, a politician, or a cycling advocacy organization, we want to speak with you about how you can make your your city a better place, one street and one book at a time.
We select books by a range of authors to promote literacy in the community, for adults and kids.
By bringing together a critical mass of diverse cyclists (including families), we show politicians and changemakers that cyclists want to ride in their community but are held back by a lack of cycling infrastructure and connected, safe routes.
A Book Ride has the ability to connect neighbourhoods, readers, and changemakers, resulting in concrete, lasting improvements: promoting complete streets, supporting local businesses, and highlighting literacy.
It was pure joy to read my work about Toronto's east end in Toronto's east end with this organization. The connection of cycling and books is clear to me. Both offer reflection and a fresh perspective. I read to a lively bunch of folks who cared enough about their bodies and their city to keep moving and keep reading.
The Reading Line demands you bring your mind, your body, and your bike to connect with your city. The Don Valley Edition brought together three fascinating places, seven great stories, and eight kilometres of cycling. By the end of the day I couldn't help but see Toronto differently.
My wife and I enjoyed the fantastic Book Ride combining gorgeous nature, innovative readers, people of all backgrounds and ages, total happiness. I only wish it was monthly from May – September.
What a wonderful day you put together! The authors are inspiring, each one of them, talented writers and also people with storied lives. The locations are a revelation. I think most people who think they know the city will find at least one of the three locations an undiscovered gem. This year, I had never known about the Children’s Peace Theatre at the Massey Goulding Estate. Involving local civic leaders only solidifies the Book Ride’s place as a key date in the year for civic engagement. The execution from a biking standpoint is top notch. It’s clear that you and your team have ridden the paths several times. You have police at key places, and helpers the entire path, plus an on-route mechanic! Add in the way you personally connect all these elements in the way that you host the three events, you really do create a perfect day for books and bikes and Toronto.
The Reading Line encourages people to connect with their city, and each other, in new ways through bikes, books, and parks — three of my favourite things. I was thrilled to be a part of the 2017 book ride.
The Reading Line is a trifecta of what’s great about Toronto - words, public spaces, and riding bikes. The organizers ensure every detail is planned out, logistics are seamless, and the publicity push makes sure folks know how and when to get on board this literary love train. Good times, great reads—thanks, Reading Line.
As a repeat performer with The Reading Line, I’m delighted to witness the growth of this wonderful event in terms of both community engagement and conceptual scope. This year’s linked themes of nature and mental health fit beautifully with The Reading Line’s founding friendship of books and bikes. The 2017 Don Valley edition made for a great day in Toronto—moving bodies and minds together through one of the city's great sunken treasures. I pedalled away from Corktown Common with a list of books to read, loving my city even more.
The Reading Line is such a unique and special event bringing people from across Toronto together to share in two of my most favourite things – cycling & reading! Thank you to the all the organizers for creating this inspiring initiative. I loved every moment, from start to finish and I am looking forward to next year's event.
The Reading Line was a very Jane Jacobs-esque event—local, idea-driven, and respectful of the street and the people occupying our public spaces. A great event!
The Reading Line is a totally unique event, and it let me combine two of my passions: books and bikes. To have the opportunity to support improved biking infrastructure in Toronto was a pleasure and a privilege, and reading at the beautiful Fort York Library was an amazing experience. Ride and read happy, Torontonians!
Group rides are a wonderful way to experience cycling in the City of Toronto. The Reading Line combines the joy of a relaxed bike ride with author readings and conversation about community - it's an opportunity to 'read' the city in a whole new way.
I loved reading from my novel All the Broken Things out of doors, in urban nature, in a marginal setting similar to those depicted in the story. I also loved biking from location to location, as the interlude provided the opportunity to meet people, discuss the work we had just heard, and simply move through space. The Reading Line is one of the most fun reading events ever!
The Reading Line is my favourite kind of urban art intervention - the kind you get to by bike and that has books for sale. I can’t wait for next year’s!
Amazing event. Clouds cleared for us. We read and biked and ate and I discovered routes through the city that I’d never traveled before. I love that feeling. Thanks, Janet Joy Wilson and Amanda Lewis, for organizing such a bike-filled, green-space-filled, story-filled day!
The Reading Line was a nurturing experience of community that has continued to inspire me. As a poet, I was a unique part of this moving community of cycling enthusiasts thinking about books, sustainability, urban planning and food, and putting ideas into practice. The beauty of spoken word is that it synthesizes, and performing in this setting gave a grounded, big picture feeling of what we were experiencing that day.
Many thanks to Amanda Lewis and Janet Joy Wilson for organizing The Reading Line. It was a great chance to see the trajectory of Bloor Street with fresh eyes in great company and confirm that books and bikes do work together.
The Reading Line was a wonderful experience - amazing authors, beautiful bikes, connected hearts connecting the city. Can't wait for next year's ride!
This cross-city reading series on two wheels combines my favourite things. I’m honoured to have been a part of it!
The Reading Line was a fun afternoon of book-listening and Bloor-biking and it was exhilarating to read (even in the rain) for an enthusiastic and responsive audience as they pedaled across Toronto. I was really inspired by the idea that both books and cities can be about creativity and new ways of thinking and here we were, laughing a lot and enjoying ourselves, and helping make the point that bikes are not footnotes but are an important part of the story of what moves us in the modern city.
Thank you for all your incredible work organizing. Despite the rain, spirits were high. I think we all need to have stories read to us from time to time!
Artistic Director & Co-Founder
Literary Director & Co-Founder