New Denver library program allows people to use bike repair kits

The kits are now available at all library locations in the city

Bruce Goldberg
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 8/7/19

The bike repair stand in front of the Denver Central Library is a busy place. Cyclists make unplanned stops to fix a flat tire, adjust equipment and make minor repairs, then resume riding. “It …

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New Denver library program allows people to use bike repair kits

The kits are now available at all library locations in the city

Posted

The bike repair stand in front of the Denver Central Library is a busy place. Cyclists make unplanned stops to fix a flat tire, adjust equipment and make minor repairs, then resume riding.

“It definitely gets used every day,” said Hana Zittel, the library’s community engagement and outreach coordinator.

People probably don’t think of the library when their bikes need repair. But the library made it more inviting by starting to lend bike-repair kits to riders – who must have a library card – on a trial basis last year to gauge interest. The result? This year, the library system has made it possible for riders to check out bike-repair kits at all of its 26 branches.

More than 50 people checked out the kits during the 2018 trial, held at seven branches, including the central one downtown, with a total cost of $1,500. And this year, nearly 100 riders have borrowed the kits.

The Denver Community Active Living Coalition, a program of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment(DDPHE), created the bike-repair program. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment funded it. DDPHE got enough funding to expand the program to all 26 library branches this year.

“We’re also working with libraries to hold events this summer to train users and residents on how to fix a flat tire,” said Kayla Gilbert, Built Environment Equity Program manager at DDPHE. “While we provided a lot of the startup funding, our goal is to create a program that will live longer than our funding.”

Community Active Living Coalition seeks to provide “equitable access to safe, vibrant places to walk, bike, take transit and play,” and though the number of bicyclists is growing, some people may avoid the sport because they know little about basic maintenance or fixing a flat tire. So the coalition approached Denver Public Library to join the program. With all those branches, the library system reaches a lot of people.

“The library is a community safe haven and resource,” Zittel said. “If a bicycle repair is needed, we can be a resource for that.”

One reason Community Active Living Coalition is involved is because it sees bicycling “as a growing part of Denver’s commitment to sustainability, community health and safe streets.”

The bike repair kits include a bike stand, tire patches, wrenches, tire-removing tool and an air pump to re-inflate tires. Users also have access to illustrated instructions written in English and Spanish.

To further promote cycling, Community Active Living Coalition has enlisted help from such organizations as Trips for Kids Denver Metro, Bikes Together and Bicycle Colorado, which have trained Denver Public Library staffers to help cyclists who may not be familiar with bike maintenance.

Think libraries are just for books? Zittel points out the free bike-repair kits are but one of several services the library offers that don’t involve books. Those services fall under the Library of Things umbrella, and examples include:

• You can check out a Chrome book to use in the library (at all branches).

• You can obtain state park passes and a family activity backpack, good for one week, which give access to all 42 state parks.

• Check out museum and cultural attraction passes to such places as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, History Colorado, Molly Brown House and Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

“One of our most popular things is to check out a WiFi hot spot for high-speed Internet that you can use for three weeks,” Zittel said.

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