Getting Iowa City onto a Bike

Sam Jensen, Iowa Energy Corps member at the Iowa City Bike Library, is getting bikes out and onto the streets of Iowa City.

Sam working on a single speed Schwinn

The Iowa City Bike Library is a volunteer-run community institution. Since its founding in 2004, there have been a number of different programs to make Iowa City a better place to bike. We hold events to help encourage bicycling, like our First Friday Commuter Breakfasts and repair classes, we help build support for better infrastructure for bikers on area roads through our work with a coalition called Think Bicycles, and perhaps most importantly get bikes out onto the streets into the hands of people who might not otherwise be able to afford one. We do this through our bike checkout program to the general public, as well as our voucher program where we provide free bikes to clients of a homeless shelter and donations of kids bikes that we give to the Neighborhood Centers.

Our volunteer mechanics have fixed up 1256 bikes (the equivelent of over a bike a day this year) to check out to the lines of patrons waiting to get a bike every Saturday morning, and we are still having trouble keeping up with demand. Since starting my AmeriCorps term of service at the Bike Library this April, I have been working to help get more bikes out to the public. I’ve been recruiting new volunteers¬† (over twenty new volunteers so far!) and creating opportunities for them to build their skills, while also working on my own skills. In the few months since I’ve started, I’ve gone from barely being able to replace my own inner-tube and tire to being able to rebuild an entire bike from the frame up. As this year continues, I’m really excited to be able to continue to grow my skills and be able to use them to help other people become more confident biking!

A steering committee member using the bike trailer to get tables to an event
Patrons in the Bike Library







member2013_samuel_jensenSamuel Jensen has a B.S. in Urban Planning from Roskilde University in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also holds the title of co-founder of the Milwaukee Transit Riders Union. Samuel is serving at the Iowa City Bike Library, working to increase bicycling and environmental awareness through education and outreach. He is also assisting in creating and implementing a cycling course that educates the community about the energy merits of alternative transportation.


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