Fix Your Bike for Free With Repair Kits Now Available at All Denver Libraries

Amanda Armstrong, a business librarian, poses with a new bike kit next to a fixed repair station outside of the Central Library this afternoon. Photo: Andy Bosselman
Amanda Armstrong, a business librarian, poses with a new bike kit next to a fixed repair station outside of the Central Library this afternoon. Photo: Andy Bosselman

If your bike needs its tires pumped up, a flat fixed or even more extensive maintenance, you can now check out a repair kit and do it yourself for free at any of Denver’s 26 public libraries. The city hopes the kits will get more people bicycling, which will support its goals around health, the environment and mobility.

“We’re in all of the neighborhoods,” said Chris Henning, a spokesperson for the Denver Public Library, while showing off the kit at the Central Library this afternoon. “We want to do our part to help with mobility, even if it’s as small as helping people pump up their tire on their way to work and taking a car off the road.”

The contents of a bike repair kit available at Denver Public Libraries.
The contents of a bike repair kit available at Denver Public Libraries.

The kits are available at library checkout desks for two hours, a time when people can work on their bikes outside. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry. The kits come with illustrated instructions on how to make basic repairs in English and Spanish. DPL is training librarians to offer more in-depth instructions, too.

“It might be a video on YouTube that people can watch on their phone while making the repair,” said Amanda Armstrong, a business librarian. “We’ll get people the resources to learn how to do it themselves.”

The kits include:

  • A bike pump with pressure gauge for pumping up tires
  • A set of Allen and 15mm wrenches for making adjustments
  • An adjustable wrench to loosen or tighten bolts
  • A set of tire levers to remove or replace a tire
  • Tube patches, sandpaper and glue for patching a hole in a tube
  • Illustrated instructions for making basic repairs

If you plan to make repairs at the library, you might want to bring your own rags. The kit does not offer them, but you’re free to wash your hands in the library when you’re done.

Library officials worked with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment to bring the kits to all branches across the city after a pilot project put them in seven libraries last year. The health department also emphasized the program’s potential environmental and health benefits in a statement issued this morning.

“There’s no question, biking can help make you healthier,” said Bob McDonald, Executive Director of DDPHE. “Just 30 minutes of riding a day can save you thousands of dollars a year on doctor visits and medication.”

Library patrons can check out bike repair kits like they would books.
Library patrons can check out bike repair kits like they would books.

As traffic congestion and air pollution continue to worsen in Denver, the department touted how bicyclists can outpace traffic without belching pollutants into the air.

“Cars produce 0.97 pounds of pollution a mile each year, while bikes produce none,” according to the department’s press release. “Bikes are also up to 50% faster than cars during rush hour.”

The libraries in Ann Arbor, Michigan offer a similar program, where comic books offer repair instructions.

The Community Active Living Coalition, a program of DDPHE, funded one repair kit for each branch, a number that could grow if the program becomes popular. CALC will partner with bike organizations this summer to give regional fix-a-flat trainings. Libraries have provided bike training events, too, which may continue in the future.

For more information, the Denver Public Library’s reference librarians can answer questions in person or via phone, email or chat at denverlibrary.org/ask.

 


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