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Community Bicycle Programs - Bike Library - Bicycle Sharing - Public Use Bicycles - Public Bicycle Systems - Bike Coops - Bicycle Collectives - Check-out Bikes - Public Bike - Tool Collective - Community Bike Shop - Bicycle Recycling Group - Bike Fleets -
Decentralized On Demand Bicycle Rental Systems





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This category covers a wide variety of groups, with a wide variety of structures and without well defined boundaries between types of programs.  They all have in common that they are facilitating more bicycling in their "communities'".  Some are truly free, but others have some revenue generating element to try an make them more stable and increase their longevity.  Clearly there is a multiplicity of approaches to this.  Thank you to all of them for their special efforts.

The initial, organic, low-tech, bike-share programs gathered a fleet of used bikes, tuned them up, often painted them all the same color, and place them in the community or on the campus to be shared.  There might still be a few of these programs, but they proved hard to sustain because users didn't return the bicycle to public places or because of heavy use, or simple abuse, the fleet dwindled because it was hard to keep the bicycles maintained.

The next development was more like a bike-library.  Participants had to register, but there was not always money involved for the membership or user-time -- sometimes there was a nominal fee.  As a rule, the longer the 'checkout period' the less labor intensive the programs. This structure proved to be better at keeping track of the bicycle and be able to keep the bicycles in operable condition. Sometimes the maintenance was the responsibility of the borrower and sometimes it was done by the central organization. There are still a few of this type of program.

To learn more about the low-tech bike share programs, how they formed, how they are organized and to glean from there experiences contact a few.  They are listed in our Community Bike Program Directory

Articles useful to those researching the various forms of free-bike programs:

Community Bike Forum
If you have questions or expertise about community bike programs, please join the email-based Community Bike Forum.  The discussion focuses on community bike, earn-a-bike, free bike, bike library, bike sharing and other forms of cooperative bicycle programs. It provides those new to the movement an opportunity to get information that will help them along and those with experience an opportunity to share their knowledge and further expand the movement.  To subscribe send an e-mail to   Please forward this information to others who might be interested.

Donate Your Bicycles
If you have bikes to donate or contribute, please go to the USA Directory of Community Bike Programs or Worldwide Directory of Community Bike Programs, as is appropriate.  Many of these organizations/programs are often willing recipients of used bicycles, bike parts and accessories. If cannot find an organization in your community on these pages, you should also check the programs listed on our "youth program directory" and "international recycling bicycles" pages.).



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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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