New ‘Iowa City Bike Library’ location opens this weekend

The new Iowa City Bike Library location is located at 840 South Capitol St. -- photo courtesy of Anne Duggan
Come one, come all: The new Iowa City Bike Library location is located at 840 S. Capitol St. — photo courtesy of Anne Duggan

It’s back! After two months of transition and renovation, the Iowa City Bike Library (ICBL) will open its new 10,000-square-foot location at 840 S. Capitol St. this Saturday at 10 a.m.

“I think the new place looks great,” wrote ICBL board member Anne Duggan in an email to Little Village. “Some of our volunteers have been working super-hard to put together the workbenches, especially. We just need to get used to the new space.”

The new location, where residents can tune-up, rent and purchase bicycles under the guidance of trained volunteers, will open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These are temporary operating hours, according to staff. The ICBL plans to bring back programs like Wheely Fun, Rent-a-Bench and “volunteer work nights” later this year, as well.

Volunteers moved most of the bikes and equipment out of the old ICBL location — located at 408 E. College St. — in early December 2014.

The move was prompted by forthcoming rezoning and redevelopment efforts in the area east of downtown Iowa City, which may threaten the old space. The ICBL had been operating at its 408 E. College St. location for about eight years prior to the move.

“It’s possible come spring we’d be forced out of [the old location], which is a problem because that’s when we make most our money,” Duggan said in a December 2014 interview with Little Village.

As part of its mission, the ICBL seeks to reuse and recycle bicycle metal and materials that would otherwise head to the landfill. The organization checked out 248 bicycles last year alone, with volunteers donating more than 3,000 hours of personal time. In its 10 years of operation, the ICBL has repaired and checked out more than 1,300 bicycles to area residents.

For those looking to attend this Saturday’s grand opening, ICBL staff request that visitors enter through the building’s east-side door, located off the back parking lot.