On April 24th, Växjö municipality launched its bicycle library at a gathering at the Palladium Theatre and Culture House with politicians, local bike shops, community members and civil servants.
The bicycle library allows Växjö residents to borrow different types and models of bicycles hoping that they will find ways to reduce their use of and dependence on cars. Participants select their desired bicycle and a three-week lending period through the library’s digital booking system administered by the municipality.
Four participating local bike shops lend and service the bikes. There are no fees for borrowing a bike provided the bike is returned on time. However, participants are asked to fill out a survey describing their travel habits and experiences with the bicycle library project.
The project hopes to increase sales and availability of specialty bikes in Växjö, where traditional city bikes make up approximately 85% of the bikes sold. The library provides 21 non-traditional bicycles of different models: cargo bikes for carrying children or transporting heavy goods; electric assist for commuting longer distances; folding bikes for use with public transit; and gravel bikes for fast commuting combined with training.
The SUMBA project contributes financial support for the bikes, booking system and marketing of the library, and CoBiUM (Cargo bikes in urban mobility), an Interreg South Baltic project, provides funding for cargo bikes and marketing.
Within an hour of launching the library, over 50 bookings had been received; within two days, almost all of the 168 possible booking slots were filled.
In a short questionnaire filled out as part of the booking process, most participants indicated use of a car as their primary or secondary vehicle, stating that they are interested in reducing (or nearly eliminating) their car travel. A survey, completed by participants after the lending period, will show the lasting effects of the project.
More information on the project (in Swedish) is found on the library's website: https://www.vaxjo.se/cykelbiblioteket