How have we missed this for so long? Three of our favourites; local communities, libraries and bicycles; all merged into the one enterprise, known as the Arcata Community Library Bike Project.
Volunteers repair an eclectic mix of bikes, then they offer them to the public for a six month loan, asking just for a $20 refundable deposit. Young folk get a chance to muck around with spanners, ball bearing and grease. Long-time cycle advocates have the opportunity to pass on their skills. The world's most efficient form of transport is saved the indignity of rusting in a garage or taking up space in a landfill. Citizens can travel about their local community for free. And that's just for starters.Arcata Community Library Bike Project quote some wonderful statistics regarding the benefits cycling has on human health:
For instance, cycling 4 miles somewhere (work, school, etc.) and 4 miles back at an average speed of 12 miles per hour (a very moderate speed) is equivalent to 24 holes of golf, 50 minutes of single tennis, or ten minutes of wrestling.
Regular cyclists exhibit the physical fitness level of someone ten years younger.
According to the National Heart Foundation, cycling five days a week for 30 minutes a day will cut your risk of heart attack in half.
And as they so adroitly observe: "Needless to say, driving an automobile does not provide any of these health benefits."
But it doesn't just have to Arcata reaping all these benefits. You can get one going in your neighbourhood too. Drawing upon ten years experience of loaning out over 3,000 bikes they've produced the publication, Anybody's LibraryBike Book, to helps others get moving on similar initiative:.
The effect of getting people on bikes and out of cars is included. A whole range of topics (insurance, location selection, bicycle compost, recycled and reuse-donated bicycles, and press releases) are presented. Recognition of bike loaning systems as bicycle infrastructure is discussed. [...] The book covers stories of: -theft — rip off -high school mechanics and mentors -coupling and marriages at the bike shop -safe zone for kids in a downtown environment. Success and joyful endeavors on one side balanced with ways to deal with difficult personalities are included.
Watcha waiting for? Go for it.
::Arcata Library Bikes via a site visit.
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