Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't forget!

This Friday, February 2, is another Roadside Breakfast from 7:30am until 9:30am. You can expect the usual coffee, tea, fruit and homemade muffins. All human powered commuters welcome!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We Are Strong in Numbers

Greetings from our nation's capitol-
While visiting the website of the DC bike library, dubbed Chain Reaction, I came across this map listing the bicycle collectives across America. Iowa City appears to be the lone fort in our push for the Midwest.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BIC's 23nd Annual Hot Chocolate Ride

The Bike Library will be the last stop on this winter ride hosted by BIC. This approximately 10 mile social ride is on Saturday, January 27 starting at 9:00am from College Green Park. From the BIC website:

Traditionally, this ride ignores the weather. Sanctuary in town offers stops and comforts, thanks to veteran organizer, Bob Oppliger. Club members offer their homes and hospitality to a roving band of gypsies. For more information, call Bob Oppliger at 338-4011.

The Bike Library will supply the usual treats, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and baked yummies.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Kin

Our field correspondent, John "Chesty" LaRue, recently sent this photo of a community bike project in Washington, D.C.

This is his newly acquired machine, courtesy of a valiant community effort.

A nod from the Iowa City Bike Library to the heroes of this D.C. station. And, a special thanks to Chesty.

Pedestrian Bridge?

Janelle Rettig was kind enough to share some information about possible trail completion for the Iowa River Trail. She writes:

"The City of Iowa is working on it's budget for the FY '08 budget year. For
the past several years the Parks and Rec. Commission has recommended a
pedestrian bridge over the Iowa River Connecting the Iowa River Trail to the
Peninsula. That bridge is the # 1 recommendation by the commission in order to
make it easier for people to reach the dog park, the frisbee golf course, as
well as reaching biking/hiking trails like the Water Works trail and Dubuque
Street Trail. It also will be a direct link for pedestrian traffic to and from
Iowa City for residents of the peninsula."

There has been some resistence to this within the council, which is why it still has not been approved. Now is the time to voice your opinion about it. It is so easy to email councilmembers. One email address sends the message to each individual councilmember: council@iowa-city.org

The following is the letter I sent to City Council. Feel free to use it to write your own.

Dear Councilmember,

I am writing to voice my support of the Parks and Rec Commission recommendation of a pedestrian bridge over the Iowa River to connect the Peninsula Neighborhood to the Iowa River Trail. It is my view the Peninsula Neighborhood is an example of poor city planning, no matter what awards it may win. There are no amenities within the neighborhood, such as a grocery store, and the expected mode of transportation of residents is a car. People who live in this neighborhood are encouraged, by design, to drive to areas where their needs can be met. Do we have to make all the mistakes cities like Chicago have already made before we learn something? We need planning that includes all modes of transportation, including foot and bicycle traffic.

The recommended footbridge would also complete a serious gap in the Iowa River Trail. We need trails that make sense in order for people to use them, and with the current design pedestrians and cyclists must go far out of the way to get to the north end of the trail, which could function more efficiently as a commuter trail as it connects to the North Dubuque Trail.

I am a serious cyclist, coordinator of the Bike Library, member of the Bike to Work Week Committee, as well as someone who is concerned with a healthy community and natural environment. I occasionally ride the trails around the Peninsula Neighborhood, and I would ride them with more frequency if they were less fragmented.

In short I support the recommended pedestrian bridge over the Iowa River to connect the Peninsula Neighborhood to the Iowa River Trail.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,
Cody Gieselman

Sorry this image is so tiny, but you can get the idea. The red arrow is pointing to the pedestrian bridge that connects to Coralville just past the dog park. I don't know where exactly the Parks & Rec Commission recommended the bridge to be built, but I imagine it would be somewhere past City Park, the green blob farthest right along the river. The Peninsula Neighborhood is the green blob farthest left along the river, near the red arrow.

The Water Works Trail and the North Dubuque Trail are off this map, but if you know the area you'll know that once you're past Foster Rd. (the tiny grey and green line above City Park), you can take trails to Coralville or North Liberty. (None of them, of course, are direct enough to be practical commuter routes, but hopefully we're learning.)

Trails aren't always necessary for cyclists and pedestrians, so if we're going to have them, they need to be properly designed. Not loopy and fragmented. I think this particular pedestrian bridge will help mend this set of trails.

(Once built, trails also need to be maintained. Sheet ice makes trail use a dangerous challenge. But, one step at a time.)

Current Schedule

Saturday, January 20 : Checkout 10 - 1

Tuesday, January 23 : Work Night 6 - 8

Thursday, January 25 : Work Night 6 - 8

Saturday, January 27 : Checkout 10 - 1

Tuesday, January 30 : Work Night 6 - 8

Thursday, February 1 : Ladies' Night 5:30 - 8

Friday, February 2 : Roadside Breakfast 7:30 - 9:30

Saturday, February 3 : Checkout 10 - 1

Checkout means the Bike Library is open to the public, which is the only time we check out bikes. Work Night are those times the Bike Library is closed to the public but open for volunteers to do more focused work. Ladies' Night is open shop time for women only. Roadside Breakfast is the monthly free breakfast for bicycle (and pedestrian) commuters.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

in San Francisco...

This is not the case in Iowa City.

Shouldn't it be?

MLK Day at the BL

A special thanks to the volunteers who helped at the Bike Library yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We spent four and a half hours stripping junk bikes and sorting the pieces and parts into their proper bins for salvaging. It was a fine day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Rough Draft

I came up with a list of, let's say, chores that comprise the workings of the grand thing we call the Bike Library. The chores themselves can be catagorized, so I started to do that here. Catagories are not fixed and in fact will most likely overlap more often than not. Anyway...


Roadside Breakfast
Yard Sale
Bike Camp


organizing inventory
blog (actually anyone should feel free to do this now... it's for everyone... let me know if you need an account)
updating computer records
unlock the door!
haul trash
haul recycling
make fliers & signs


taking returned bikes
helping patrons find bikes
filling out checkout form, money ledger & receipt
filling out donation receipt
donation pick-up
taking bikes to Broadway Neighborhood Center
trailer rentals (policy in the works)
Rental Bench (starting soon)


safety check of repaired bikes
price & serialize repaired bikes
getting repair tags on donated bikes


strip bikes
separate mixed metal & Al (no more plastic!)
haul salvage


press releases
phone contact
email contact


volunteer training (this one is huge... there's training about how the BL works & training about bike repair... we should all be ready to be responsible for both, as well as have a couple/few people to do training "sessions")
designating volunteer duties, or who gets to work on what
volunteer scheduling

Okay so some of this is obvious, but I think it's necessary to get it all out in one list. Still, I may have accidentally left out some things.

I intentionally left out all duties dealing with money, since Brian & I have decided to keep doing this one the same way. I also left out Ladies' Night, but that's only because I'm currently the only female keyholder. I am certainly willing to commit to keeping this event going.

This is a start at defining roles within the Bike Library. Please, share any thoughts you may have about this lateral shift of responsibilities.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We cleaned!

Yeah, we are wild and unpredictable... no one could have guessed we'd mop the floor yesterday. Thanks again to Jim for suggesting it and then gathering all the necessary supplies (including two buckets of water!). We also moved the BIC workbench, so it now faces the other bench against the opposite wall. It's nice. I think it will help reduce some of the summer madness congestion by keeping "retail" activity in the front area near the door.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Roadside Breakfast - First of 2007

A fine spread of fresh pressed coffee, 10-grain muffins, apples and tangerines, not to mention tea and hot cocoa.

When Steve & I first arrived around 7am, it was just after dawn. There was a full moon hanging heavy in the west and a murder of crows making their mess as they moved through downtown. The air felt like the lion of spring had already passed. It was weird. We had a small turnout of around ten people. There were many conversations about the weather, not the idle kind, either. An Inconvenient Truth was brought up several times.

Many of us at the Bike Library feel that our bike activism is one way of changing the pattern of environmental damage wrought on this planet over the prior couple centuries. It doesn't stop there, though. Environmental damage is inextricably intertwined with the decay of our communities, the isolation of the individual, class and race segregation, and the apparent failure of consumer capitalism. The bicycle is a tool to engage solutions, but for me it all hinges on community action and participation.

Policymakers are a part of the community, too. That's an important one to remember, since policymakers make decisions that affect us all. To learn more about the folks at Iowa City's city hall, check out:


There's also the Johnson County Board of Supervisors:


Both pages have full contact info.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back in Action!

We are indeed having our monthly Roadside Breakfast tomorrow (Friday) from 7:30am until 9:30am. Ride yer bike to help us drink the coffee and eat the muffins!

Also, the Bike Library will resume its Saturday checkout hours (10am - 1pm) this Saturday.

As far as volunteer work nights, I (Cody) can commit to Tuesdays (6pm - 8pm). Any other keyholding volunteers want to offer other time slots for working?

My full time position is ending very soon, so it's necessary that folks make specific commitments to keep the Bike Library running smoothly. We'll need volunteers to serve as coordinators of bike intake & repair, bike checkout, events (such as the breakfasts), volunteers (taking volunteer applications & administering training), and PR (to serve as the main contact).