A bicyclist who needs to pump up a flat tire or do a minor repair while out on the road can now make a pit stop at Ashland's downtown plaza, then keep on biking.
City of Ashland workers installed a compact bike repair station complete with often-used tools on the plaza on Monday. They also put in a bicycle tire pump for public use.
"It's another tool, if you will, for bicyclists to keep on riding," said Ashland Public Works Director Mike Faught, a fan of bicycle commuting and recreational riding.
The bike station and pump are near a Rogue Valley Transportation District bus shelter on the plaza. It could come in handy for RVTD users who combine bus riding with bicycling.
People who are stranded far from the plaza with bike trouble could also catch a bus along the route through Ashland and ride to the plaza to do repairs.
The bike repair station comes with eight tools that are tethered with vandalism-resistant aircraft cables. Tools include Allen wrenches, an adjustable crescent wrench and a lever for popping the tire off a bike to reach a flat inner tube.
The whole process of fixing a punctured tire — including replacing a flat inner tube with a new one — takes about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the experience level of the cyclist.
Avid Ashland cyclist and bicycle safety instructor Bill Heimann, who helped hatch the idea to bring the repair station and pump to the plaza, said the Bug A Boo toy store has agreed to stock inner tubes. He is helping the store find a supplier of the tubes.
The store is located across the street from the plaza at 40 N. Main St.
"This will provide an opportunity when a person is downtown for whatever reason to fix a flat tire," Heimann said. "That's the primary thing that goes wrong with a bicycle."
Heimann began contemplating the idea of a public bike repair station and pump in Ashland months ago.
He then learned that RVTD employees were considering the same concept for the valley.
RVTD paid for two bike repair stations and pumps. One set was recently installed in Medford at RVTD's bus transfer station on Front Street, with the other set coming to Ashland this week.
One bike repair station with tools and a bike pump costs $1,035, Heimman said.
The city of Ashland agreed to install the Ashland bike repair station and pump and to maintain the equipment, which is sold by Minneapolis, Minn.-based Bike Fixtation, LLC.
The company was founded by two cyclists who want to help communities support bicycling, which they note is a sustainable form of transportation and recreation.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.