TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Andy Worm cycled up to the vertical green cylinder outside the Traverse City Visitor Center and stopped to check it out.
“I think it’s cool,” said Worm, of the new “Fixit” public bike repair stand. “We ride the TART Trails all the time and it would be great for putting air in the tires or stopping to adjust the seats. We do that at home and now we can swing by here first.”
The repair stand is a welcome addition to the Visitor Center, which gets frequent use from cyclists along the nearby trails, said manager Kathee McCafferty. The compact station features all the tools necessary for quick repairs and adjustments, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle ( https://bit.ly/1nJS69D ).
“We’ve had so many visitors come in and say, ‘I was riding along the TART Trail and I’m having an issue with our bike. Where’s the newest bike shop?’” McCafferty said.
The bike repair stand was manufactured by Minnesota-based DERO Bike Rack Co. It includes wrenches, screw drivers and an air pump that are attached to the stand with stainless steel cables and tamper-proof fasteners. A hanger arm allows bike pedals and wheels to spin freely while adjustments are made.
Cyclists can even use the Quick Read code on the front of the stand to view detailed repair instructions on their smart phones.
The repair stand is the area’s first and is a “fascinating” step, said Julie Clark, executive director of TART Trails.
“I’ve seen them in other communities. In Charlotte, N.C., where I came from, they have them,” she said. “They’re something that has really come on in the last few years so I’ll be excited to see how this goes.”
McCafferty first saw the stands last fall on the campus of the University of Kentucky, where she was visiting her daughter and son-in-law, both students there. She snapped a photo of one and began investigating how to order one when she got back home.
“I have my little wish list that my Visitor Center needs,” she said. “It might be benches or public restrooms, but this year it was a bike stand.”
The repair stand was paid for by the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau Education Foundation, which operates the Visitor Center. The foundation also funds six annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors who want to pursue hospitality and tourism careers.
The full-feature Fixit stand with air pump kit starts at about $1,200, according to the DERO website.
“The nice thing is that they’re not going to replace repair shops,” said Mike Norton, spokesman for Traverse City Tourism. “This is strictly something to get you on to the next place.”
Bicycle transportation advocate Gary Howe said the stand could be the first of several in the area.
“I haven’t utilized them but I’ve seen them in Seattle (and) Vancouver,” said Howe, a Traverse City Commissioner. “It has come up in Traverse City a few times. A spot that I’ve thought of that would be good for something like that is Triangle Park at Rose and Boyd. It’s right on the trail.”
Clark said the Visitor Center is where vacationers often start their trips in the area so it’s a good spot for them to make sure their bikes are in ready-to-go shape.
“It’s just a neat opportunity for the Visitor Center to welcome tourists and let them know we’re a place that welcomes bikes,” she said. “It’s also a good way to give the message to the community that we’re a bicycle-friendly community.”
Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com
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