udenver-bike-path.jpgA student-led bike library opened Sept. 24 at the University of Denver offering high-tech bikes on loan for free, and a glimpse of the citywide bike sharing program that gets rolling next spring. The free DU lending library is open to all students, faculty and staff using the same bikes that will dot the city landscape in early 2010.

The bike library is part of Denver University’s (DU) sustainability efforts that incorporate conservation, recycling and innovative building design. Bikes will be available for free use with DU identification. The establishment of the bike library was led by the Undergraduate Student Government, which contributed and raised some $50,000.

“It’s really a perfect solution for a lot of students like me who don’t have a bike,” said student government senator Dillon Doyle. “I wouldn’t use a bicycle every day, but if I could just borrow one, I’d use one once a week to run errands or buy groceries.”

The bikes, designed to be durable, safe and easy to operate, sport baskets that can hold up to 25 pounds, tail lights powered by the motion of the wheels, and seats that adjust to fit riders with the flick of a lever. Locks are built into the bikes so they can’t get lost or left behind. Bikes will be kept in specially marked racks outside the residence halls where they are loaned out.

When the citywide Denver bike sharing program launches in April, about 600 bikes will be available at up to 50 solar-powered self-service kiosks spread across the city. Users can check out a bike at one location with the swipe of a card, and return it clear across town. DU is expected to house at least two of those kiosks. The city-University partnership is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

“I hope everyone on campus, that includes faculty and staff, uses these,” one student said. “The fewer automobiles we drive, the more that students and the rest of us use our legs or a bicycle, it’s making an impact.”

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