Everyone (at least everyone reading this website) has heard of the Twin Cities’ NiceRide. But this post is about another Twin Cities bike share program, one that you might not have heard about: Community Partners Bike Library.
Community Partners Bike Library is similar to NiceRide in a lot of ways, for instance they are both; entering into their second year of operations, have received a large infusion of funding this year, and provide people with bicycle transportation, one big difference? The Bike Library is free.
This project run by Sibley Bike Depot in Saint Paul, will provide “220 bicycles, fully equipped for transportation purposes, for 6-month loan to low-income community members. The Bike Library will additionally provide under-served communities with classes in safe cycling, bike maintenance, and commuting, and support in acquiring a bicycle for long-term use at the termination of the loan period.”
How does it work?
“Bikes are loaned through community partner organizations – social service, government, non-profit, and community institutions directly engaged with low-income community members. All Bike Library bikes will be lent to low-income community members, with an emphasis on making bikes accessible to community members traditionally less involved in the bike and transportation movement, including communities of color, women, and immigrants.”
The most surprising part of the program? Last year 70 percent of the bicycles were returned at the end of the six month period. This is entirely based on the honor system, so considering that many bikes made it back is pretty amazing. This year the program was awarded another $110,000 to keep the program running through 2012.
They have got to have some pretty amazing grant writers over at Sibley, and with this program it has to be one of the larger free bike shares in the country… nice work Twin Cities.