Local Projects: Cog Bike Library

The COG Bicycle Lending Library is a volunteer run, community based, not-for-profit organization in Oakland, Calif. that lends out salvaged and recycled bicycles to make bikes equally accessible to all members of the community. The project is grassroots and wholly supported by donations and the energy of volunteers.

Bicycles are donated or salvaged, volunteers fix them up and members check them out for 1 month with the choice of a $10 deposit or a work-exchange of fixing 2 bikes. After a month, members may receive their deposit back or re-check out the bike for an addition 6 months for no additional deposit or work. Members may exchange their bike for another or come and learn how to work on their library bike at anytime. And, of course, membership is free.

Logistics aside, our intention is to create a program that takes bikes off the market and out of the money economy, and a space where people feel comfortable and empowered to ride a bike, learn how to fix it, help out the program, or just be a part of a project in their community. Bicycles are very expensive and a great commodity here in America, yet we find them trashed on the sidewalk on big trash days, and in massive heaps at large transfer stations.

Maybe if enough people knew that, the market and street value of bikes would fall, and lower income people would have easier access to bikes, learn the simple mechanics, and have a reliable, cheap form of transport that they don’t have to guard with their souls. Bicycles are easy to work on and we hope to incorporate more workshops and classes, and possibly an open shop for working on personal bikes into the program in the future with hopes of empowering people to learn skills and do things for themselves.

The Cog was started in late March of this year and we’re currently open Saturdays from 11am to 4pm at 3833 Martin Luther King Jr. way in Oakland.

Volunteers are always welcome and needed at the Cog!