A bike library is exactly what it sounds like: a place where you can check out a bicycle just like you would check out a book. That makes it easy to encourage cycling as a mode of transportation, even for people who don’t own a bike. More people riding bikes? That’s a good thing.
From cargo bike rentals to fat tire cruisers, here are a few bike libraries to check out:
1. Fort Collins Bike Library – Fort Collins, Colorado
Since 2008, more than 20,000 bikes have been checked out through the Fort Collins Bike Library. Bicycles are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and as long as you turn the bike in before the bike library closes, you ride for free. FCBL has four locations around town, including one on the Colorado State University campus. They’ve got all kinds of bicycles on hand, from fat tire cruisers, a to 8-speed commuters.
2. UC Santa Cruz Bike Library – Santa Cruz, California
The UCSC Bike Library is a little different than other bike libraries, with a limited amount of bicycles available for long-term rental. Every quarter students can apply for one of the 30 bikes, by submitting an essay answering the following questions:
Why do you need a bike?
What will you use the bike for?
How will you contribute to the bike community?
Then all the rider has to do is attend a bike skills class and they’ve got themselves a bike for the rest of the quarter. A creative and innovative way to get people addicted to riding.
3. The Bicycle Library – London, United Kingdom
Based in London, The Bicycle Library is actually a mobile library housed inside of a converted double decker bus. Inside there are “librarians” on hand, people to help you with all kinds of bicycle questions. Just like you might check out a book to see if you really like it before buying it, you can do the same with one of the seven kinds of bicycles that The Bicycle Library has on hand. And yes, there are magazines and books about bikes on hand too.
4. Cargo Bike Library – Sydney, Australia
What do you do if you want to move something by bike but you don’t have a good cargo setup? If you live in Sydney, you go and visit the Cargo Bike Library, which houses a fleet of specialist cargo bikes and trailers allowing cyclists to carry things that would normally necessitate a four-wheeled vehicle. With a membership, short loans of up to three hours are free. Just think of all the things you could transport.
5. Community Partners Bike Library – Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota
16 organizations in the Twin Cities area partner up to make biking accessible to under-served communities by way of the Community Partners Library. With a goal of encouraging lifelong bicycle use, particularly in marginalized communities, the bikes are loaned out through social service, government, non-profit and community institutions directly engaged with low-income community members for up to six-month periods. Not only do participants get access to a bike, but they also go through bike education, learning how to ride, learning about traffic and even getting the basics of bike mechanics.
Photo Credit: Oran Viriyincy