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Lil’ Lesko is taking us across the country in search of incredible things our fifty states have to offer.  His stop in Alabama found him riding a bike for FREE!  Auburn, Alabama’s Bike Loaner program offers bikes on loan for two week periods to residents and visitors.  They provide maps, helmets, safety information, and more. 

To learn more you can contact the City of Auburn’s Bicycle Loaner Program at

City of Auburn Public Works Department
365 B N Donahue,
Dr. Auburn,AL, 36830,

But is that the only town where such a program exists?  No!  And more are forming everyday.  Sometimes it is schools, sometimes cities, sometimes banks or credit unions offer low cost loans so you can purchase a bike of your own.  Sometimes companies offer bikes to their employees.  The Limited Company has bikes that the employees use to get from building to building.  We searched online and here is some of the gems we found, but don’t for a minute think that this is all there is.  Contact your city government, library, bike store, or bike organization to see if they can help direct you to programs near you.  You can also find a great list of community bike programs at International Bike Fund website at
Happy trails!
Another city that has gotten into the bike act is the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area of North Carolina.  Blue Urban Bikes is their community bike-loan program that is growing every day.  There are BUB HUBS (Blue Urban Bike Rental Stations) scattered at locations around town where you can get a bike. Membership to the program costs $10 annually and allows members to check out bikes for free for 24 hour periods.  You can register online at 

For more information contact
P.O. Box 1188,
Chapel Hill, NC, 27514;

Well you can check out books, videos and CDs from libraries, so the next logical step is a bike.  The Bike Library in Arcata, CA allows you to check out a bike for up to six months (a $20 refundable deposit is required).  Go to the bike Library on 8th St. (one block west of Arcata Plaza), and check it out!  The website is   

Other cities that offer similar programs include

Iowa City,
IA (Iowa City Bike Library,
408 E. College St.,
Iowa City,
IA  52240;

New Brunswick,
NJ (New Brunswick Bike Library,
154 Commercial Ave.,
New Brunswick, NH  08901;

Fort Collins,
CO (Fort Collins Bike Library,
19 Old Town Square,
Fort Collins, CO  80524; 970-419-1050;
222 LaPorte Ave.,
Fort Collins,
CO  80521; 970-484-3804;

Denver is getting into bikes in a big way.  Starting this summer they will have 500 bicycles available to ride through their B-Cycle Citywide Bike Sharing Program.  There will be 30-40 bike sharing stations scattered throughout the city where members can access the bikes with their membership cards.  Currently the program is open to city employees who can check out one of the 30 bikes at the Webb Building.  City workers are encouraged to check out the easy to use 3-speed bikes to run errands during lunch.   
Contact Department of Public Works,
Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building,
201 West Colfax Avenue,
Dept. #608, Denver,
CO 80202;
Clear Channel Outdoor and the District Department of Transportation have teamed up to provide SmartBike DC for residents and visitors to the DC area.  For a $40 annual fee you can receive a User Card.  Once you receive your card you can go to any bike station which are scattered around the city.  You use your card to unlock an easy to use 3-speed bike for the bike rack.  You can use the bike for up to three hours.  If you want to use it longer than three hours, return it within the time frame to any station and you can take out another bike.  There are currently 120 bikes at 10 stations.  Check out the SmartBike DC program online to see where the sites are, as well as how to purchase a User Card.  Contact SmartBike DC at 800-899-4449;
Muncie, Indiana has their own “Community Cruisers” program.  The bikes are single-gear, coaster-brake bicycles and are held at The Depot.  Any resident or visitor can check out the bikes with an ID card.  To check out the bikes go to
Wysor Street Depot,
700 East Wysor St.,Muncie, IN 47305;
Colleges are a logical place to offer bike loaner programs.  Kids often need transportation around campus or into town.  The University of Idaho has such a program.  The Bike Loan Program has donated bikes that students repair with the help of a trained bike mechanic.  With a small deposit that can keep the bikes while they are students on campus.  The deposit is returned when the bike is returned.  This program is offered to international students who obviously could not bring a bike with them to campus. 
To learn more contact
International Friendship Association,
University of Idaho, Moscow,
ID  83844,
University of Oregon has an Outdoor Program which offers the Bike Loan Program.  The bikes used for the program have been abandoned on campus and refurbished and retrofitted to include lights, fenders, baskets, locks, and helmets.   They also maintain a bike maintenance shop where you can use tools to fix your bikes.  Currently you are able to borrow a bike for one to three terms and put down a $65 deposit which will be refunded when the bike is returned.  You can contact the Bike Loan Program at UO Outdoor Program,
University of Oregon,
Room 37 EMU, Eugene,
OR 97403; 541-346-4371;
You can get a loan for a car or a house, but it is rare to find a loan for a bike which is a much more reliable and cheaper form of transportation.  Unitus Community Credit Union in Oregon has established a bike loan for its members (it is free to be a member).  If you live or work in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Yamhill or Clark County, you're eligible to join.  They have joined with local bike shops to promote a healthy living lifestyle.  The low, fixed rate loan for bicycles is a great deal.  You apply for the loan and if approved, you go to a local bike shop and get an itemized invoice for the cost of the bike and the accessories.  You bring the invoice back to the bank and receive a check for up to 80% of the price.  Actually you can purchase a bike and within 2 weeks bring the invoice to the bank and apply for a loan.  If approved you will get a check for up to 80%.  This is only good for new bicycles ranging in price for $250-$2500, and the maximum loan term is 12 months. Contact Unitus Community
Credit Union,
P.O. Box 1937,
Portland, OR 97207;
503-227-5571 ext. 2483;
For those employees of Transportation Services in Santa Cruz, CA, a special bike loan program is available.  Ecology Action offers a zero interest loan to eligible employees.  You fill out the application and loan terms forms and give them to your payroll or HR department, who then forwards the forms to Ecology Action.  Once you are approved you can then go shop for your bike and ask them to hold the bike until your loan check is prepared.  Many bike shops offer discounts through the program ( )  The loan is for 12 months. 
To learn more contact
Ecology Action,
P.O. Box 1188, Santa Cruz,
CA  95061;
831-426-5925; Membership_Services/bicycle_loan.htm