The bicycle library is a try-before-buy service that allows residents to test different bikes, like cargo and electric assist, for commuting or other transport purposes. The goal is to increase cycling, and broaden the types of bikes in use. Now the Bicycle Library Cookbook is available for all municipalitites who wish to implement this effective measure for their residents.
The purpose of this document is to inspire cities to start their own bicycle library and give some guidance on how to get started with experience from three different examples from the SUMBA+ project.
The bicycle library concept is inspired by a normal book library. But instead of borrowing books, a bicycle library lends out bicycles to residents in order to help them find a bike type or model that helps them complete their daily errands and commuting trips by bike. By being able to test different models, people have an increased chance of finding the right one that suits their unique needs. The purpose of the service is typically to provide the opportunity to “try before you buy” for those interested in buying a bike but unsure how it might work in reality. The goal is to replace car trips with bike trips in an effort for cities and municipalities to better meet their transport and climate related goals. The typical borrower of a bike from the library is one who is a regular user – those who will use the bike on a daily basis and want to own their own bike. This compared to the typical user of a bike hire system or bike pool that is more of an occasional user who does not have the same need to own the bike.