A bicycle project for Bloomington was first envisioned by members of the Center for Sustainable Living in 1997. Charles Hammond, Youth Bicycle Education Network member and founder of the Bicycle Action Project (Indianapolis), was invited to present to CSL members about Youth Bicycle Education. He offered to make used bikes available to the Center if they chose to start a bicycle project. In the spring of 1998 Larry Mongin, Christine Glaser and two other CSL members began research for the bike project, including a visit to the Bicycle Action Project.
The Community Bike Project truly began in 1998 as a Yellow Bicycle Project under the leadership of David Maluski. As many longtime Bloomington residents still remember, approximately thirty bicycles painted yellow were released in downtown Bloomington. Many of the bicycles were stolen or vandalized. The Center for Sustainable Living fostered the Bike Project and provided it with 501(c)3 non-profit status. Working with the CSL, David Grote took the helm in 1999, at that time working with tools and bicycles inherited from the Yellow Bike Project out of a garage behind a house on Madison Street.
From 2001-2004, the Bike Project occupied a room in the basement of Harmony School. Vista volunteer Rusty Peterson and Harmony teacher Gina Weir were instrumental in organizing the Bike Project during that time. In 2004, the Bike Project moved to its present location. As Project Coordinator for two years, Lance Thurner oversaw the move to the new location. As of 2006, Amber Fullenkamp and Loran Bohall serve in the positions of Volunteer Coordinator and Shop Coordinator. Attendance and volunteer participation grew steadily over the period 1998-2006.
- Earn-a-bike: Participants may donate eight hours of service to the Bike Project in order to earn a donated bicycle.
- Maintenance classes: Classes are regularly convened in order to teach bike repair skills.
- Ladies’ night: A weekly forum is provided for women and girls to work on bicycles, staffed entirely by women volunteers