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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


Humboldt Integrated Pedal Power (HIPP) - Library Bikes (below), Pedal Power Produce (farm-to-market bike-trailer hauling), bike cart/trailer construction, Kinetic Sculptures, Human Energy Converter (sound system), pedal powered appliances, workshops and more! (Check back soon for more web pages on these programs.)  All these projects have a home or will have a home at a former car repair shop in downtown Arcata!  Help us bring such projects along as a showcase to the world, by joining in financial support of our nonprofit endeavor.  Thank you.

Arcata Community Library Bike Project 

Our Mission
Founded in 1997, the mission of the Arcata Community Bike Program is to promote the use of bicycles by Humboldt County residents as a safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable method of transportation. We enact our mission by providing bikes to Humboldt area residents and visitors through our new facility located in the old Sacchi Chevrolet building next to the Arcata Post Office, or through one of four lending stations: at the Arcata Co-op, Redwood Yogurt, Coffee Break, and the Arcata Recycling Center. Our volunteer-run program aims to inspire more people to bicycle more, thereby improving their health and helping to create a cleaner, more livable community for all.

What is a Library Bike?
Library bikes are bicycles that have been refurbished or repaired from a continuous supply of donated old and used bikes and bike parts. Library Bikes are essentially "free" to all community members and are "checked out" to an individual for a six month time period. That is the essential difference between bicycles provided for free, as in "yellow bikes" that are placed around towns for anyone's use.  (In Arcata, the "Green Bikes" program needed to evolve into the present lending system.)  

A Library Bike can be checked out by simply signing a waiver of liability and a putting down a $20 deposit. The bikes come in all shapes and sizes but all have a bright green sticker which proudly proclaims "ARCATA LIBRARY BIKE". After six months, the individual can return the bike and receive his or her deposit back, or re-check it out. If at any time during the six months they wish to return the bicycle, they may do so and their deposit will be returned regardless of the condition of the bike. Library Bike users are encouraged to lock the bike if necessary, and to basically care for and treat the bike it as if it were their own.

Benefits of the Program:

Much of the conservation benefits are waste related, as much of the raw material that enables the program is potential waste. Library Bikes are created from bicycles that were likely sitting in someoneís garage or backyard broken down or unused. Many of these bikes would eventually end up in the landfill. The bikes individually contain little value but collectively they create a parts resource, and a value emerges that is much greater than their individual sums. This is where the real power of the bike program lies. Humans generate incredible amounts of waste in nearly all aspects of modern life. The bike program is fundamentally a vehicle for resurrecting otherwise difficult to restore bicycles, eliminating bicycles from the solid waste stream, and conserving mineral resources that would otherwise be spent creating new bicycles or cars.

Transportation issues are only likely to increase in complexity as we begin the 21St century. Automobiles generate large volumes of carbon dioxide. In the United States, the volume of C02 has continued to steadily increase with 1997 seeing 473 million metric tons of carbon dioxide being generated from autos. Community bikes provide direct reductions in local emission levels.

In the U.S., 11.2 percent of the GDP is transportation related. In 1995, average U.S. household transportation expenditures totaled $6,016 ($1000 dollars of which were spent on gasoline and motor oil). Personal income spent on automobile expenses does not generate a significant amount of local revenue. The businesses that provide the most services to motorists are places such as gas stations and car dealers. Both businesses must export a large portion of their profit to the parent company. By having people drive less and bicycle more, more discretionary income is allowed to circulate in the local economy.

A most perplexing statistic shows that less than one percent of work commutes are made by bike even though over half of the population lives within five miles of work. As streets become more and more congested in urban areas, accommodating traffic becomes increasingly difficult. Cities are gradually turning to alternative transportation sources as solutions. The Library Bike program gives people effective ways to get to work and school. Many of the bikes are equipped with racks or baskets that can help accomplish tasks such as grocery shopping and laundry. By getting people onto bikes, cities are afforded significant relief from traffic congestion, demand for parking and infrastructure, traffic noise and pollution levels. All of these represent costs borne by public works departments and transportation planners.

Education and Fitness
One of the crucial steps necessary for bicycle advocacy is education. The stigmas of cycling are long and deeply rooted. Many people fail to recognize cycling as a valid form of transportation, or they may harbor gross misconceptions about its effectiveness. Through the Library Bike program, people are given an opportunity to rediscover their affinity for this form of transport in a casual and self-determined manner. As people begin to realize that they can improve their health, lower their stress level, and save money, cyclists are reborn.

The benefits of cycling on human health have been demonstrated again and again. For instance, cycling 4 miles somewhere (work, school, etc.) and 4 miles back at an average speed of 12 miles per hour (a very moderate speed) is equivalent to 24 holes of golf, 50 minutes of single tennis, or ten minutes of wrestling. Regular cyclists exhibit the physical fitness level of someone ten years younger. According to the National Heart Foundation, cycling five days a week for 30 minutes a day will cut your risk of heart attack in half. Needless to say, driving an automobile does not provide any of these health benefits.

The bike program had many other unanticipated benefits result. Young people often make their way to the shop where they may channel boredom into creative bike projects acquiring valuable mechanical skills. The shop can help to galvanize cyclists under a common goal of promoting cycling. Through the programís volunteer staff, young and old alike are given a chance to learn useful bike repair knowledge that will ensure continued confidence. The Library Bike program provides a tremendous development and influx of social capital.

Along with governmental and private foundation support, the core costs of the program rest on the shoulders of a small but growing band of volunteers from within the community. These individuals truly enjoy promoting cycling and donate large amounts of personal time and effort with only the compensation of satisfaction and personal accomplishment as payment. The continued success and existence of the program is largely attributable to these dedicated volunteers.

For more information on the Arcata Community Library Bike program, stop by the programís "hub" next to the Arcata Post Office in the old PC Sacchi Chevy building or visit the program's website.

See Bicycling News/Issues/Culture page


Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California . Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



Culture Change/Sustainable Energy Institute mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) California non-stock corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.