By: Kamini Persaud
Soon students will be able to take out more than just a book from Mills Library. By the end of September, pending approval from Environmental and Occupational Health Services, McMaster will be host to the Bike Library, a new initiative by the organization Start The Cycle.
Start the Cycle will be providing McMaster students with five bikes with helmets that can be borrowed on a 24 or 48 hour basis, similar to a library book. This unique share plan promotes community responsibility, universal access and the already thriving cycling culture on campus.
This not-for-profit organization was founded by two McMaster students, Charles Burke and Justin Hall, who modeled Start the Cycle after similar for-profit bicycle share projects seen across North America. Burke is completing his doctorate in transportation planning and Hall is currently a master’s candidate conducting research on active transportation and urban social geography.
The bikes themselves were donated by the two co-founders, as well as MacCycle Bike Co-op, which collected and refurbished bikes that had been abandoned on campus.
Many community partners contributed to McMaster's Bike Library, with donations such as bike locks from Dundas Canadian Tire and helmets from the City of Hamilton. Due to its community nature, there are no fees associated with the program, including in the case of lost and stolen bicycles.
This project aims to give everyone at McMaster equal access to sustainable transportation. The Bike Library plans to expand to at least ten bikes by spring 2015, and if the service is in demand they could expand to offer over 40 bikes by the end of 2015.
Start the Cycle's new Bike Library pilot project intertwines with cosmetic city changes in preparation for the Pan American games coming to Hamilton, including the new Cannon Street bike path. This new bike path will create an easy, active and innovative route between the Pan-American and Para Pan-American game venues.