Ready to Ride? There May Be a Bike Library Near You

You just want to ride a bike. Now. Maybe you just resolved to get in shape, to see if you can really still balance on a bike like you remember doing as a kid. You may have resolved to spend less money on gas, to be more environmentally friendly, to just say no the petroleum based economy, or to avoid buying something new that will end up in the landfill. You may be able to have instant gratification on this one, folks. A bike library allows you jump into your new idea and ride it – before your resolution wears off.

Go with your impulse and discover the liberating effect of the wind rushing against you as you take control of your transportation with your own muscles. No windshield shelters you from reality, and you are forced to be in the here and now. Feel the power. You may easily be in a town in which there is a bike library, and you would not know it. In some towns, very successful, large bike recycling libraries are well popularized, such as Arcata, Oakland, and Iowa City. In other towns, such as Knoxville, there may be a house full of activists, bike enthusiasts, mechanically minded kids and ecologically concerned citizens who have a bike library in their back yard. Sometimes these are written up in local papers, or posters about them put up on college campuses, or community bulletin boards. Google may be all it takes to find one in your town within minutes. Sometimes you just need to make some connections.

There may be a money back deposit for joining, say twenty dollars, or more likely, an even smaller deposit per bike, generally three to five dollars, and there is a variety of styles to chose from, from cruisers to mountain bikes. Most won’t be perfectly painted and polished, but on the other hand, those used bikes won’t be adding to the refuse in your town. And you won’t be out hundred of dollars for a new bike. You can keep the bike just for the day, see how it works for you, try out different styles, or you can keep it for six months, and then perhaps renew it. People who work the libraries tend to be encouraging, glad you are interested in the bike culture, a social group which truly creates bonding. They may be able to answer questions about types of bikes, assess whether they are right for you, give hints on maintenance. You’ll be able to really feel deep down that riding a bike is a good idea. Especially if you wear a helmet.

You could feel part of a growing, positive movemtn, as bike libraries are doing a lot of good. 800 bikes have been rescued from the landfill by the bike library in Portland alone. Often bikes in libraries are made of many parts from mangled bikes, put together in a Frankenstein manner, to create something that never existed before, a totally unique bike. Bike libraries are getting more people out of their cars in their commutes, cutting down on pollution, not mention the time it takes to find a parking spot. And citizens are becoming fitter as they ride more often in towns where there are librarie. The National Heart Foundations tells us that riding only half an hour five days out of the week cuts the risk of heart attach in half.

This is the day to check out your resources and start feeling your leg muscles grow stronger, your confidence grow wings, and start giving other bikers knowing looks, cause, yeah, we know what’s up. We’re bikers. And we not only cycle. We recycle.

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