Iowa City Bike Library opens in new location

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By Vivian Le

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The Bike Library will celebrate the completion of its four-month move with an open house at 4:30 p.m.today.

The Bike Library, 700 S. Dubuque St., is a nonprofit contributor to the biking community. Iowa City holds a silver ranking as a Bike Friendly City, an award issued by the League of American Bicyclists.

At the open house, which will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., customers will be allowed to rent bikes, tour the facility, and meet the Bike Library’s first executive director, Cody Gieselman.

The business opened its doors in 2004 on College Street, and it has since moved twice because the high cost of its lease. Located closer to downtown than it previously had been, Gieselman said he is confident the Dubuque Street address will be its best location yet.   

“We want to do programs and connect to the university, and we really hope we can expand what we’re doing,” Iowa City Bike Library board member Anne Duggan said. 

Despite the four-month move, the library has been able to continue to operate without interruption. 

Most aspects of the library will remain the same as they were at its last location, but Gieselman noted the new location offers a more spacious display of its inventory.

While the Bike Library functions primarily to enable community members to rent used bikes, it also sells bikes for people interested in starting their own projects.

Customers can pay a deposit to rent the bikes for a period of up to six months, at the end of which they can choose to keep the bike or turn it in for their money back (minus a $5 processing fee and costs for repairs that require the purchase of new parts).

During the six months customers have bikes checked out, the library offers them free adjustments and basic repairs.

The library is marketed toward students but is open to all members, even offering bikes for children.

The library also offers programs for the community, such as the Duggan-led Wheely Fun on Monday nights in which people can come in and learn basic bike-repair skills in a laid-back environment.

“Our mission, basically, is to get more people riding bikes,” Gieselman said.

University of Iowa freshman Maggie Coutré, one of many students who choose to bike in town, said she prefers the mode of transportation because it provides cardiovascular benefits as well as ease when parking.

“I think biking is a nice way to wake up in the morning,” she said. “It gets your body and your brain moving, and you feel all refreshed.”

The Bike Library organizers said they hope people will choose them for their biking needs and repairs.

“People are welcome to come and learn about what we’re doing,”  Duggan said. “We have different programs for different evenings; we are always looking for volunteers.”

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