Updated: Oct 21, 2018
It is pretty much what it sounds like : a place where you can borrow a bike if you haven’t got one, or need a specially adapted bike. And it’s much more than that too.
“Anyone can hire a bike,” says David Liddell, the project’s co-ordinator. “The library exists to make cycling accessible to all. So that may be people who just want a friendly hand and loan of a bike to get them back on their wheels; people who need a specially adapted bike to accommodate a disability; or, subject to referral, free hire for people who are not able to afford their own bike.”
A bike lending facility used to be part of the council’s Health Improvement Team, but with council restructuring over the past couple of years the service was at risk of being discontinued. In order to keep it going, David headed up the formation of a social enterprise, and last August the West Lothian Bike Library was born. Operating from premises provided by the council at Crofthead Farm, Livingston, everything is done by a band of some twenty dedicated volunteers who refurbish donated bikes, manage the hires, offer bike servicing, lead bike rides and a host of related services which are continually being added as the Bike Library develops.
“Our project is about inclusive cycling,” says David. “I want to normalise cycling for all and we have some wonderful adaptive bikes for people with additional support needs.”
“There is a vibrant community here at Crofthead Farm. We have a Monday evening bike group, we lead bike rides for several schools and groups who come here, as well as facilitating rides for people on the adaptive bikes.” As well as refurbishing bikes for the library use, they also sell bikes at very affordable prices to help generate funds to put back into the project; the adaptive bikes in particular are very expensive to purchase. They also have electric bikes available for hire.
“I’d like to see the bikes out everyday,” says David. “Either on private loan or on the bike rides we lead. We have a fantastic cycle network at our disposal. I’d like to get to a stage where we can keep the doors open 9 – 5.”
The West Lothian Bike Library is currently open from Wednesday to Friday 10am to 2pm. David is keen to extend these hours, especially to be able to open at weekends.
*Please donate your pre-loved bike to West Lothian Bike Library. It will be serviced and refurbished and either sold for fundraising or used as part of the lending library. All bikes of any size and shape are welcome!
*If you can spare a few hours and want to volunteer in any capacity, the Bike Library will be delighted to hear from you! Full training is provided.
*Consider purchasing a bike from the Bike Library to help boost their funds.
Contact the West Lothian Bike Library on:
West Lothian Bike Library is incorporated as a Community Interest Company registered in Scotland 573140
First published in Konect October 2018.
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer