The gear library of the Radical Adventure Riders Atlanta chapter (RAR-ATL) isn’t the first of its kind for cycling gear, but it is one of the most organized and accessible. In researching other groups that loan cycling gear, “we hadn’t come across a consistent model or a controlled vocabulary to replicate,” says Sarah Cruz (pictured, left), one of its coleaders and an associate archivist for the Coca-Cola Archives. “You can’t just grab a record and pop it in your catalog.”
Founded in 2017, RAR’s goal has been to make cycling more accessible for riders who are femme, transgender, women, nonbinary, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The RAR-ATL Gear Library—which has a searchable online catalog with photos—is the work of Cruz, Hannah Griggs (center), and Devin Cowens (right). The trio has devoted dozens of hours to labeling and cataloging donated equipment including tents, cycling-specific bags, and camp stoves. And Cruz’s coleaders have received a crash course in library science, from creating borrower accounts to providing reference services.
Many people new to cycling and gear-intensive activities like touring and bike camping (using a bicycle to travel to and carry all you need for a camping trip) usually don’t know where to start. Cruz and her coleaders help cyclists learn how to use the catalog and find items that best suit them for an excursion. “What is the use of the catalog if someone doesn’t even know what they should be searching for?” Cruz says. “There are usually really fun and unexpected things that patrons may not anticipate needing.”