Bike Library Q&A

So I can just take a bike whenever?
Yep, that’s the idea! Of course, we ask that you be respectful of others and don’t abuse the service. Overnight or weekend check-outs are permitted on a case-by-case basis, and you can definitely come grab a bike for a weekend day-trip around the Chain of Lakes.

Can I get a bike for my buddy?
The funding for the program comes from monies belonging to SAFL students, so we feel that the benefits should be focused on SAFL personnel only. Therefore, only SAFL folk may take bikes. Exceptions are possible if granted by a Bike Librarian.

What if I want a bike for longer than a day?
While we’ll consider multi-day requests on a case-by-case basis, our fleet of five bikes is really dedicated to daily use. We have a second fleet of used bikes that need work that we hope to eventually restore and offer as longer-term loaners. Contact a Librarian and we can figure something out.

Where did the bike names come from?
Our bikes’ names pay homage to some of the many giants on whose shoulders we stand:

Hans Albert Einstein was the Switzerland-born son of Albert known for his research in sediment transport.

Felix Maria von Exner-Ewarten was an Austrian meteorologist and geologist who developed the famous Exner equation. 

Geoffrey Ingram Taylor was a British physicist and mathematician who introduced the idea of “frozen” turbulence.

Andrey Kolmogorov was a Soviet Russian mathematician who authored the breakthrough K41 theory in turbulence.

Joseph Smagorinsky is an American meterologist who proposed the first Large Eddy simulation for turbulence modeling.

Who maintains the Library?
We designed the Library with “low-maintenance” in mind. The simplicity of the single-speed bikes means that maintenance will be minimal but necessary. Currently we volunteer librarians taking care of maintenance, but we’re eventually graduating so if you’re interested please contact us!

Who funded this project?
Funding for the Bike Library has come from monies provided by the Student Fund.

How much did the bike library cost?
The cost of five new Specialized bikes from Erik’s in Dinkytown, plus U-locks, lights, other accessories and replacement tubes, batteries, etc. was less than $2,000. We may request additional funds for a covered structure, tools, or other necessities.

Who started the Bike Library?
In 2012, cycling enthusiasts, wannabe mechanics, and PhD students Kevin Howard and Jon Schwenk dreamed up the idea to fix up the old beaters around SAFL and lend them to visiting researchers. This idea eventually morphed into the Bike Library we have today with the help of Toni Calderer, Saurabh Chawdary, Craig Hill, Adam Witt and others. Here is our original manifesto, if you're interested.