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Kids rent and ride at GES 'bike library'

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

The Galax Recreation Center celebrated the grand opening of its bicycle library on March 28, part of the city’s Safe Routes to School program.
Galax Middle School students enrolled in the rec center’s afterschool program gathered at Felts Park to break in several of the new bikes. After checking the bikes and fitting each child with a helmet, Safe Routes Coordinator Linda Mock and Galax Parks & Recreation Director Dave Nelson led the group to the walking and bike trail that winds around the ball field at the park’s lower level, where they rode around the loop several times.

The bike library is the first one of its kind in the state, according to Mock. It allows Galax students and residents to check out bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis to ride for free for a few hours.
With a parent’s permission, students can check out a bike and a helmet after completing the necessary paperwork. Students younger than 13 years old need a parent to ride with them.
All bikes are inspected by staff before they are loaned out and when they are brought back, and helmets are cleaned after each use. Borrowers must return the bikes in the same condition as they are when they are loaned out. Any bikes found with defects will be pulled from the library and repaired.
Bicycle safety information is also given to the parents and students before the bikes are checked out.
Funds to purchase 30 youth bicycles and 30 helmets for the library came from a grant award by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program, along with federal partners U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Safe Routes to School. Additional donations of adult bicycles were made by Main Street Bike Shop and Walmart.
Mock noted that additional adult bike donations are being sought for the library. However, additional adult bikes may be rented at Main Street Bike Shop.

Bike library hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. from April 1-Oct. 1; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from Oct. 2-March 31. The library is open year-round on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sundays from 1-4:30 p.m. The Galax Recreation Center is at 601 S. Main St. Call (276) 236-3218
or visit www.galaxparks-rec.com.