Borrow a bike like you borrow a book
posted by Bob Mills
In September 2014, two McMaster grad students, Charles Burke and Justin Hall, approached the McMaster Library with a proposal to open a bike library on campus. Their idea was simple: every student or staff member should be able borrow a bike from the library, just like they borrow a book!
With the support of the librarians, Start the Cycle recruited some partners. Canadian Tire donated bicycles; the City of Hamilton Helmet Initiative provided helmets; and the University Bike Co-op MACycle signed on to do bike maintenance. Pier 8 Group has now come on board to help with media relations, to spread the word in Hamilton and beyond.
The bike library at McMaster was launched in the fall of 2014. A second bike library was opened at Mohawk College in 2015. So how successful is it? Last fall, there were 500 bike checkouts on the two campuses and 300 new users signed up. In 2016, the program is being expanded to include several Hamilton recreation centres.
Start the Cycle’s goal is to create bike libraries across the nation. The group is currently pitching the idea to 24 other colleges and universities and hopes to expand to other Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Guelph and Kitchener.