Bicycle library builds on city’s current mind-set

Beginning next spring, the city of Fort Collins and BikeFortCollins.org will launch a bicycle library, where residents and visitors can check out bikes for free up to a week.

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Published July 16, 2007 by Coloradoan.com

Beginning next spring, the city of Fort Collins and BikeFortCollins.org will launch a bicycle library, where residents and visitors can check out bikes for free up to a week. All that is needed is a photo ID, although donations will be accepted to help bolster the program.

This isn't the first time such an idea has been attempted. The city operated the Free Wheels bicycle lending library in the late 1990s with 250 bikes that had been donated or recovered from the landfill. That program focused on providing bicycles for people to commute to work.

This new library will be broader, with bicycles available at three to five locations around town, including Colorado State University and Old Town. Eighty percent of the $165,000 funding comes from a federal grant, while the Downtown Development Authority kicked in $15,000. Other matches and donations also have been contributed. The library will open with 50 bikes and expand from there each quarter according to need. Several bike stores are joining in the effort by donating money or bicycles.

Details about check-outs, including penalties for late returns or no returns, are still being worked out. Program supporters should seize the opportunity to distribute information on bicycle rules of the road and bike maps along with the check-outs.

Such efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled and boost air quality, as well as the health of participants, are sensible. Fort Collins has already embraced bicycling, but more can be done. By focusing on voluntary measures and offering broad access to all kinds of bicycles, this project is a worthy example that individuals can carry great power – even on their bikes.