ASHEVILLE – City of Asheville employees recently installed a “Fixit” bicycle service station at the Clingman Avenue roundabout. It is a repair stand with an attached air pump and hand tools, including screwdrivers, wrenches and a tire lever. The station provides an opportunity for a cyclist to make minor repairs and adjustments on the road rather than having to carry tools or walk an ailing bicycle home.
“The city consulted with members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force and other cyclists about whether they would thought this was a good investment in encouraging bicycling, and to find the best location to test one of these stations,” said City Transportation Planner Barb Mee. “This was the consensus.”
The River Arts District is a destination and a bicycle crossroads. It is at the bottom of two long hills that join West Asheville and downtown, and near the Lyman Street and Riverside Drive bicycle lanes. The location is also next to a transit stop that serves downtown and West Asheville.
People have already noticed the repair station. Area resident Kelly Ingram noted, “the bicycle service station is incredibly helpful! I can use it when I bike to and from work and when I’m commuting around town. It is at a very convenient location so I don’t have to worry if my tire gets low or I need a few tools while I’m in the River Arts District or biking to West Asheville!”
The station is an investment aligned with city goals of integrating non-motorized modes into the city’s transportation network and providing Asheville’s residents and visitors with transportation options. It also makes the city friendlier to bicycles, another City Council objective. According to Mee, “An area where bicyclists feel welcome is one where they will patronize area businesses and spend their money. This, along with good bicycle parking, is a way to make cyclists feel welcome.”
“The cycling community is thrilled by the fix-it station in the River Arts District. Cyclists can tune up their bicycles after a ride along the river and greenway. The fix-it station also strengthens Asheville’s commitment to multi-modal transportation as it’s located at a bus stop on the recently improved sidewalks of Clingman Ave. I’m proud of our city’s expansion of infrastructure that supports the many modes people use throughout the day. The fix-it is a winner,” said Mike Sule of Asheville on Bikes, an area advocacy group.
Bicycling for transportation is a way to incorporate physical activity into someone’s day. Studies have found that people who use active transportation are, on average, more physically fit and have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people who use only motorized transportation.
“Kudos to the City for the installation of the Bicycle Fix-It Station in the River District. People of all ages and sizes can reap the benefits of feeling good about their health and themselves by engaging in active transportation. Studies show that the risk of chronic disease is reduced and that individuals report greater vitality and a sense of well-being when they walk or bicycle regularly”. Vicki Rowe-Currence, Health Promotion Educator and member of the Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force.
These public bicycle service stations have been used in other cities, including Wilmington (NC); Cambridge, Mass., and Omaha, Nebraska.