Students across the country regularly check out books from their school’s library to read at home with their friends and family. What if schools had a library where students, and even their parents, could check out a bicycle to ride with friends and family and, best of all, ride to school? As of November 2018, Austin’s very own Langford Elementary is the proud host of Ghisallo’s very first school based Bicycle Lending Library with 40 bikes for students, 15 bikes for parents, and locks, helmets, lights, and retro reflective stickers for everyone!
The Bicycle Lending Library @ Langford Elementary allows students and their parents to check out a bike for the semester as long as they agree to ride to school at least twice a week, always wear a helmet, and make sure to lock it up safely at night.
On November 3rd, we launched the Bicycle Lending Library on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning. After checking out a bike and a U-lock and receiving a fitted helmet, lights and reflective stickers, students and parents gathered for a session on bicycle safety and safe riding. Once the breakfast tacos were gone we all set off on a group ride around the school, first on the sidewalk and then on the road, to practice using our hand and verbal signals while riding in the street.
Finally, students split up into teams based on where they live – the Purple Pumas, Pink Leopards and Blue Pandas – to practice riding to school together. The teams rode off confidently in their respective directions, riding in the street, using hand and verbal signals, and stopping at stop signs.
Upon regathering in front of the school, we heard about a few students’ plans for riding on the following Monday. One student’s sister in 6th grade is going to ride along with her to Langford before riding to the bus stop to lock her bike up and catch the bus to her middle school. Another student’s father is excited to ride with his daughter to school after not having been on a bike in almost 20 years.
Thank you to Langford teachers, staff and friends for helping out on Saturday. Thank you to Bike Club friends and everyone else that came out just to ride with us! Thank you to the Yellow Bike Project for the refurbished ofo bikes parents checked out, the City of Austin’s Active Transportation department and City of Austin Department of Sustainability’s Bright Green Future Grant program, the City of Austin’s Safe Routes to School program for the youth helmets for all the new riders, the City of Austin’s Vision Zero group for the bike light sets to help keep everyone visible, The ABGB, Bikes for Goodness Sake and all our partners who helped build and supply the bikes used in this program, and to Steven LeBlanc for being there to provide bike mechanic support.
And last but definitely not least, a big THANK YOU to all the students and parents for coming out and riding, we hope you had as much fun as we did!