The Iowa City Bike Library announced today that they are finalizing plans to move to a new location this summer.
The announcement comes a day after reports that the New Pioneer Food Co-Op is eyeing their current space, the corner of Gilbert and College streets, for its relocation.
But leaders of the Bike Library, a volunteer-run non-profit that fixes and turns donated bikes into low or no cost transportation, have known they would eventually have to move for some time.
The Bike Library is in the old John Wilson Sporting Goods building that sits on an otherwise empty corner lot on prime real estate at the edge of downtown Iowa City.
Brian Loring, the founder and a volunteer at the Bike Library, said they will likely move to 700 S. Dubuque St. sometime this summer. The new location will use the basement of the building and the entrance is in the rear.
"We like that space. It's more room. The only downside is it doesn't have the visibility," Loring said.
Some people may recognize the Dubuque Street building. It recently had served as an impromptu music venue called "The Warehouse," which has since been shut down.
Loring said he believes people will still find them for retail purposes, but he fears donations could suffer.
The new location also brings the Bike Library into a cluster of bike-friendly businesses, which Loring said could be another positive.
"It's the blinky light district," Loring said.
World of Bike's, Geoff's Bike and Ski, Broken Spoke and 30th Century Bicycles are all within several blocks.
Loring said former Hawkeye great Tim Dwight, who owns the building at 700 S. Dubuque St., is letting them use the space for next to nothing.
The Bike Library started in 2004, loaning bikes during the Iowa City Farmer's Market. Then they moved into the John Wilson building in June 2005.
Here is more from a statement from the Bike Library:
(Loring) also expressed his gratitude to the City Of Iowa City for allowing the Bike Library to use the John Wilson space for the past seven years. “We entered this space in 2005 knowing full well that this would be a temporary home for us,” Loring added. “We want the City of Iowa City to know how grateful we are to have had the opportunity to use the 408 College Street location. I would like to thank former City Manager Steve Atkins and Assistant City Manager Dale Helling for believing in this project and giving us the opportunity to use this space,” Loring added.
The Iowa City Bike Library is a volunteer-run enterprise. The core mission is to get more people using bicycles as transportation. In doing so, they are expanding transportation options, reducing traffic congestion, and providing the general health benefits that accompany cycling.