MVPL Bike Stop: Bike Fest

Check out BikeFest 2014 at MVPL

Check out BikeFest 2014 at MVPL

By the time summer rolled around, we had put together several smaller bike-related programs. We wanted to do something bigger. We decided to close our side parking lot and throw a BikeFest.

We sent out a broad call to local bike organizations, inviting them to take part. We did not charge any fees to participate, and we did not pay any group to join us. Here’s what we said:

The Mountain View Library BikeFest will create a space where bicyclists and bike organizations can gather together to celebrate bicycling in all its many variations. It will take place on Saturday, July 12th between 10 am and 1 pm, and will attract community members of all ages. It will take place in the surface parking lot adjacent to the library on Franklin Street, and may possibly also spill over into Pioneer Park.

We are looking for organizations who would like to participate. While your participation can be as simple as setting up a booth to answer questions, we would prefer for you offer a hands-on activity. This activity could be something like bike tune-ups, “test drives,” fittings, bike-related crafts or coloring, helmet adjustments, a rodeo or obstacle course, etc. Or it could be something entirely different and bike-related. We’re happy to discuss possibilities with you. Creativity encouraged! We hope to create a street fair atmosphere, similar to San Francisco’s Sunday Streets.

We asked participants to bring something interactive, and they did not disappoint. More than 150 patrons of all ages got to enjoy:

  • Cycletopia: a demonstration protected bike lane put together by Safe Streets Mountain View. It provided a green carpet entrance to the festivities.
  • Curators from the Pedal Power exhibit, which was on display at the Los Altos History Museum, brought a watt-meter bike which measured how many watts a patron generated by pedaling.
  • Great Streets Mountain View brought a small model of city streets where patrons could design their own bike lanes.
  • Safe Moves put together a rideable model of city streets, where kids could practice stopping at stop
    BikeFest at Mountain View Public Library

    BikeFest at Mountain View Public Library

    signs, crossing train tracks, and identifying hazards on the road. They also brought a blender bike, and we enjoyed making and eating bike-powered smoothies.

  • The Silicon Valley Bike Coalition brought their spin art bike. Patrons pedaled to power a paint spinner, making cool designs.
  • The Bay Area Bike Mobile came to do free tune-ups and repairs.
  • Beeline Bikes also did free tune-ups and repairs.
  • Cognition Cyclery brought an electric bike that patrons could test drive. They gave away free water bottles, answered questions, and yes, did free tune-ups and repairs.
  • The local YMCA brought three exercise bikes and did pop up spin classes.

In addition, Cycle California magazine sent us a big stack of magazines to give away. And of course the library set up a table with plenty of coloring activities available for everyone.

All in all, it was a great way to get to know some of our local bike organizations, and to introduce patrons to them as well. I saw a lot of good conversations and people having fun. But to be honest, one of my favorite moments was seeing an eight year old boy trudge up to the Bay Area Bike Mobile with two flat tires and then ride away laughing after they were fixed. We hope all of our events are as much fun.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth Mountain View Public Library Bike Stop blog post focusing on the results of their Pacific Library Partnership Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant Program. This series is written by Emily Weak, Adult Services Librarian at Mountain View Public Library.

MVPL Bike Stop: Bike Maintenance and Repair/Monthly Bike Clinics

Doing a basic bike repair and maintenance class seemed like kind of a no-brainer, especially in light of our installation of the Dero Fixit station. The FixIt station provided tools, now we just needed to make sure people knew how to work with them.

Bicycle repair photograph

Bicycle Repair Man de serviço photo by
CENAS A PEDAL mobilidade

In the process of publicizing some of our bike events, I went to a local bike shop that offers maintenance and repair classes and just happened to meet one of their teachers, Ryan Murphy. Ryan is a friendly, knowledgeable, laid-back guy, who is passionate about fixing bikes. I asked him if he’d be willing to do a class on basic bike maintenance and repair.

We hammered out the details. The class would run an hour and a half. We would cap it at 30 students, we’d allow people of all ages to attend and we would also invite people to bring their own bikes. The class would take place at 4:30 on a Friday in late June.

We ended up with 24 attendees, adults of all ages and a small handful of teenage boys. Ryan brought his tools and a repair stand (he also has a mobile bike repair business). He walked people through the basic structure of a bike, and used participants’ bikes to illustrate common problems. Ryan’s passion and approachability made it a great experience. He allowed the problems with the bikes that were present to shape the structure of the class.

In fact, since the majority of attendees brought a broken bike with them, we realized that it would be useful to offer a regular bike clinic. People could get advice from a professional mechanic on how to fix their bikes and introduce them to the MVPL’s FixIt Station. We decided that third Fridays would be a good schedule, from 4:30 to 5.

As of the date of writing, we’ve had two monthly clinics—each with about 15-20 attendees—with Ryan set up at the FixIt station outside the library. There seems to be a pretty healthy population of people who have bikes with problems and he also gets a lot of interest from passersby. Ryan is hands-on with people’s bikes and explains what he is seeing and doing as he works. He answers questions and is extremely approachable. It’s really a lovely program. Right now we’re considering finding him an assistant—maybe a local high school student with an interest in bikes. Regardless, we hope to continue providing this service in an effort to promote the Mountain View Public Library as a hub for the cycling community.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth Mountain View Public Library Bike Stop blog post focusing on the results of their Pacific Library Partnership Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant Program. This series is written by Emily Weak, Adult Services Librarian at Mountain View Public Library.

The Mountain View Public Library’s Bike Stop

Mountain View Public Library Bike Stop Photo by Paul Sims

Mountain View Public Library Bike Stop Photo by Paul Sims

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of guest posts by Emily Weak, an Adult Services Librarian at the Mountain View Public Library. New installments will be posted every Monday.

One of our City’s Council’s goals for the current two fiscal years is to make it easier for our community to access the city as bicyclists or pedestrians. The Library is supporting this goal through an initiative called Library Bike Stop, which is funded by a grant from the Pacific Library Partnership.

The focal piece of the initiative is a piece of equipment called a Dero Fixit Station. This is a freestanding structure installed near our bike racks in front of the library. It has a rack that you can hang a bike from, tools such as tire levers and wrenches, and a very sturdy bike pump. Dero also provides QR codes, affixed to the station, that link to instructional videos on bike repair.


Mountain View Public Library Bike Stop Photo by Paul Sims

We installed the Fixit station in early April (2014), intending to do a soft launch and a more formal “unveiling” on Bike to Work Day (May 8th). However, it almost immediately began creating a buzz. Our local paper ran a story about it (and this is a rare case on the internet when I encourage you to read the comments – they are very positive). In addition to being used regularly by bicyclists of all ages, it creates a point of conversation for the community; cyclists gather at the station, lending each other advice and assistance. And it serves as a symbol of our city’s commitment to support cycling.

The Library Bike Stop grant, which was written by Paul Sims, also includes funding for ten programs as well as additional tools and books. Over the next few weeks, I will describe here how we have implemented these elements. For example, we’ve hosted a workshop on shopping by bike, taught Urban Bike Skills, started a monthly bike clinic, invited museum curators to talk about the history of the bike, thrown a BikeFest, and are in the midst of planning a multi-library bike tour. Upcoming posts will focus on each of these topics.