Cykelteket Bikeotheque

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World's First Bike Library in Denmark
World's First Bike Library in Denmark

If Hamlet were alive today, instead of “To be or not to be”, it might be “to bike or not to bike”.

In his Danish town of Helsingør (or Elsinore to Shakespeare), the local municipality has worked with the Bike Innovation Lab bike culture centre and local bike dealers to establish a bicycle library, so that would be bike owners can come and try out the different types and models of bikes.

They seem to have pretty much everything available, from folding bikes that are handy for commuters, to e-bikes and touring bikes, as well as road bikes and cargo bikes, recumbent 2 wheelers and trikes.

Now that word has got around, the bike library has people turning up, referred their by their doctor instead of prescribing medicines for them.

Just as there are mobile book libraries to access rural communities or sheltered housing residents who can’t access town libraries, Cykelteket even has a mobile bike library that is available to bring different bikes out to people to try. You bring along photo ID and a cash deposit of Dkr 500 (about £53) which is refunded when you return the bike. As at book libraries, overdue returns are charged, in this case at Dkr 50 (£5.30) per day. You need to have your own insurance and you are liable if the bike is stolen during your rental.

A programme called Cykling uden Alder (“Cycling without Age”) started in 2013, to take elderly or disabled people out on rickshaws or an adapted cargo bike with space for a wheelchair.
They now have 1500 registered pilots across the country and the experience has been phenomenal with the positive reports of the elderly who have enjoyed feeling the wind through their hair and having trips down memory lane and getting outdoors.

Making good use of their range of bikes, the Bike Library also has two rickshaws and one bike with wheelchair carrying capability.

Aren’t these two initiatives (the bike library and pilots for Cycling without Age) the sort of schemes we should have here? In this particular case, the region contributed Dkr 750,000 (£80,000) of the start up costs and the city council Dkr 500,000 (£53,000)capital and the same in revenue for 2015.

 

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