After more than five years of location insecurity, the Iowa City Bike Library (ICBL) is ready to settle down in its own “vast, ethereal space.”

“It is true! The Iowa City Bike Library has purchased a building at 1222 South Gilbert Court,” ICBL posted to its Facebook page Tuesday morning. “Situated South of CommUnity, two blocks away from Big Grove, and still within the Blinky Light District–we are very happy about our new location and can’t wait to give you a socially distant grand tour.”

ICBL was founded in 2004 as a volunteer-run community project with a goal of refurbishing bicycles, recycling old parts, making cycling accessible to all and promoting cycling via events and workshops.

The Library’s central conceit: bikes are “checked out” for six months at a time in exchange for a cash deposit (running $75 to $300). At the end of the six months, the bike goes back to the library and the rentee gets their deposit back, minus a $50 sustainability fee. Or, as happens most often, the rentee can keep the bike permanently and forfeit their whole deposit.

“I think everyone thought it was kind of stupid,” ICBL co-founder Brian Loring said of proposing the concept of the bike library back in the early ’00s. “It was sort of, ‘OK, it’s just one more crazy Iowa City idea.’”

But that idea caught on, and despite moving between three different downtown locations — the result of building sales, rising rents and unrenewed leases — ICBL has checked out thousands of bikes, helped hundreds repair their own bikes through their Rent-A-Bench program, and hosted cycling rides and classes for kids, women and the general public.





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