Libraries: The Cyclist's Service Station
Gas stations fuel cars, and public libraries provide essential community services to cyclists.
Whether you’re someone who bikes for exercise, to protect our environment, or as a form of transportation, libraries offer free, accessible services to all community members. Libraries provide unique resources to cyclists who need rest, repairs, and public education.
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Free, Convenient Services
Libraries offer free services for cyclists in need of a rest stop. They can utilize free resources such as water bottle refill stations, air conditioning, and communal spaces for rejuvenation. Many libraries are aware of the needs of cyclists, including convenient bike racks, and even repair and tire pump stations.
Some libraries are offering additional community services to cyclists. Needing only a library card, users can check out bikes from locations worldwide. The Mansfield/Richland County Public Library in Ohio provides free bike-sharing services. Cyclists need to be 18 years of age and carry a valid ID and library card. Borrowed bikes come with a free helmet, locks, and basket.
Accessible Biking Clinics
Libraries have always been learning centers, including resources for regular cyclists. It’s not uncommon for libraries to host community classes that teach basic life skills or affordable fitness classes. Thus, specific libraries include bike safety classes for regular cyclists and community members who travel by bike. For example, the Farmville Public Library teamed up with other public safety services to teach basic bike repairs and safety to community members.
Free Repair Stations
Some libraries incentivize cyclists to utilize their free services. For example, eight public libraries in Winnipeg, Canada, offer free bike repair stations for anyone who needs them, regardless of whether they plan to use the library or not. These stations provide cyclists with everything they need in an emergency: a bike rack, a pump, essential tools, and a repair stand. This gives cyclists simple, fast, accessible bike repairs without investing inexpensive services.
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Libraries are known for being safe and centralized spaces. There are several reasons for this, one of them is their commitment to accessibility and inclusion. Proximity to public transport makes it accessible for all community members to use their local public library. This makes it simple for cyclists and people who travel by bike to utilize their library’s resources.
Cyclist Oriented Giveaways
Regular library visitors who travel by bike should pay attention to special offers provided by their local public library. Some libraries offer unique opportunities for patrons to earn free prizes at an affordable price. For example, the Berwick Public Library offered regular cyclists the chance to enter a raffle to make a mountain bike or custom-made fat bike in May of 2021.
Unique Library Activities
Libraries have embraced affordable physical activity as part of their services. Some libraries offer Yoga and Tai Chi classes. The Denver Public Library in Colorado holds an annual event titled “Beards, Banned Books, and Bikes.” This involves patrons exercising on stationary bikes while local community members read historically banned books aloud. As a bonus, participants who guessed the name of the forbidden book earned fun prizes!