Iowa City Bike Library

The Bike Library started in 2004 as a volunteer-run community bike project located in Iowa City, Iowa with a mission of getting more people on bikes. We repair donated bikes and offer them to the public. Bikes are priced with a deposit and checked out for six-month periods. If a bike is returned in good condition within the checkout period, the deposit will be returned to the user minus a $50 sustainability fee that keeps our doors open. Alternately, patrons can choose to keep their bikes and forfeit their deposit.

See our FAQs below for more information.

How do I checkout a bike?

Checkouts are available on Saturdays from 10am to 3 pm on a first-come, first-served basis. During peak time (typically warmer weather) patrons frequently come to the Bike Library before the 10 am open time to wait in line for a bike. We recommend checking bikelibrary.org for styles and sizes available or to stop by on Friday afternoon during rent-a-bench to see our weekly selection. You cannot hold or guarantee a bike for checkout. We recommend that whoever plans to ride the bike is available for a test ride before checkout as sizing is key. During peak time our demand usually exceeds our supply.

Where is the bike library?

The Bike Library is now located at 700 S Dubuque St, five blocks south of the ped mall and just across the creek from all of Iowa City's bike shops.

What payment methods are accepted?

Cash, Check, or Credit Card

How much does it cost to checkout a bike?

Our checkout bike deposit runs from $75 to $300, however the majority of our bikes are priced between $100-$200.

If you return the bike within six months, you will be refunded your deposit minus a $50 sustainability fee and any damages requiring replacement parts &/or extensive repair. The sustainability fee helps the Bike Library cover the expenses of normal bicycle wear and the overhead of running our shop.

During the six-month checkout period the Bike Library will assist you with adjustments and repairs, for minimal or no charge, depending on the circumstances. Ask a volunteer or email info@bikelibrary.org if you have questions.

If you keep the bike beyond six months, the Bike Library keeps your deposit, which helps us keep the lights on & the wrenches spinning.

How long do I get the checkout bike?

The bike is yours for up to six months from date of contract. Your receipt will have a due date listed. If you decide to keep the bike beyond six months, you forfeit your deposit.

How do I return a checkout bike?

Bike returns can be made anytime volunteers are at the shop. As of January 2017, a $50 sustainability fee will be taken from your checkout to cover normal wear and tear of the bicycle and general expenses of running the shop.

We ask for an address upon checkout and return of bike. A check will be mailed between 4-6 weeks. Additional charges will be deducted from your deposit if there is damage beyond normal wear and tear. Please ask a volunteer or email info@bikelibrary.org if you need clarification on this policy.

What if I have repair needs on my checkout bike?

If you have repair needs within the six-month checkout period, stop by with the bicycle, and we will work together to resolve the issue. The Bike Library will cover the cost of minor repairs & adjustments.

For larger repairs we do our best to keep your expense low by using second-hand parts when available and proving labor without charge. Please, be aware that you may need to leave the bike in our shop, depending on availability of volunteer mechanics and any necessary parts.

How do I donate a bike or bike-related items?

You can donate bike-related items any time volunteers are at the shop. We will give you a receipt for tax purposes for your donation. Please, do not leave items outside of the shop.

How do I volunteer?

Stop by to fill out an application. Our volunteer coordinator will contact you with an orientation date. You can email info@bikelibrary.org with additional questions.

Can I bring my bike for repair?

We are not a commercial bike shop and do not do repairs for-hire. We only service checkout bicycles that are still within the 6-month checkout period. (See above for more about repairs to checkout bikes.)

We offer rent-a-bench (see hours on our main page) for $5 per hour in which you have full access to our tools and repair stands to do your own repairs. Some guidance is available, but we encourage you to do research beforehand on procedures that are new or unfamiliar to you. Used parts can be purchased when available, and some new parts are available to active RAB users.

Do you have kids' bikes?

Yes, kids' bikes are available for purchase on Saturdays, 10am–3pm. Prices can range from $10 - $50. Kids' bike are not available under our bike checkout program; in other words, you cannot return kids' bikes.