From Joan Pasiuk, Bike Walk Program Director

Transit for Livable Communities, through Bike Walk Twin Cities, is excited to award $193,200 for the Sibley Bike Depot’s new Community Partners Bike Library. This program will enable patrons to check out a bicycle at no cost for an extended period of time from a fleet of 220 refurbished bikes. The program will launch in April 2010.

Sibley will work with new and established partners to put bikes in the hands of folks who will benefit substantially from affordable, reliable transportation. These partners include local luminary capacity-builders of low-income populations: Center for Victims of Torture, Project for Pride in Living, the Jobs First Program of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Skyline Towers Advantage Center, Youth Farm and Market Project, and others.

We are keenly aware that lack of reliable transportation is a significant barrier for many low-income families. Bicycle travel is an important component of self-sufficiency and economic viability for many users, providing efficient access to jobs, classes, errands, and appointments. With connections to transit, bicyclists can extend the range of their trips substantially.

Partner organizations will screen and select among their clients for participation in the Bike Library program, and help monitor use of bikes by their clients. The Library program includes mandatory safety training for all patrons. Library bikes are intended to serve as primary transportation and so come equipped with light, rack, lock, and fenders; check-out includes helmet and map.

Sibley Bike Depot has a legacy of building solid partnerships and empowering individuals with significant transportation challenges. One of its ongoing efforts is an earn-a-bike program, enabling those who could not otherwise afford a bike to earn refurbished wheels by volunteering in the Sibley shop. Sibley teaches classes in bike maintenance, winter commuting, bicycle trailer construction, and more. It organizes group rides and has an open shop for all members of the community.

The Community Partners Bike Library is an excellent investment of Bike Walk Twin Cities pilot funds and we’re excited to support the efforts of Sibley Bike Depot in this work.