Jessie and Bessie the book bikes take to the road this Jubilee weekend

Two children in royal costumes explore books in Jessie the Jubilee BikeCambridgeshire Libraries has launched two new bespoke cargo bikes which will be pedalling into local communities as part of their mobile library service. Bessie the Book Bike is an electric-assist Urban Arrow provided to the library as a result of funding from the Department for Transport and Energy Saving Trust’s eCargo Bike Grant Fund and City Changer Cargo Bike, a Horizon 2020 Cycle Logistics programme delivered in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council. Jessie is a refurbished Bakfiets which had been sitting unused in the storage arches under Elizabeth Way. Both have now been branded up (spot the clever book names!) and are ready to help local people borrow and renew books and find out more about their local library services.

The idea is the brainchild of Mobile Library Manager Ally Clarke, who had seen book bikes like this in Boston, USA and thought it was about time some were created in the UK’s cycling capital. She loves the fact that the cycles are a low-cost, eco-friendly and adaptable way to get out and about into local communities. Bessie can be booked for village fetes, school events, old people’s homes and fresher’s fairs – she’ll be visiting Histon this weekend and Strawberry Fair later in the month.

Jessie, who has been regally refurbished in purple courtesy of a library grant to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, will be carrying royalty-themed books and craft activities. She began her own mini Tour de Cambridgeshire in March this week and will also be visiting Ely, Huntingdon, St Neots, Papworth and Cambourne.

Ally says:

Come and say hello, experience this new library on wheels, and get involved with our jubilee celebrations with Cambridgeshire Libraries’ newest recruits: Bessie the Book Bike and Jessie the Jubilee Book Bike! Take a selfie to share on social media and let your friends know you’ve met a Book Bike – Jubilee Jessie even has regal dressing up costumes on board!”