By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress
A few pedal pushes from the Charley Western Recreational Trail and adjacent to the Charles City Public Library parking lot sits a valuable resource that may often be overlooked by passer-bys.
For many bicycle enthusiasts it can be a life-saver.
Shortly after RAGBRAI rolled through Charles City in late July 2017, a bicycle tune-up station was constructed along the riverfront, courtesy of First Security Bank and Trust.
Sightseers or those on foot might not give the nifty gadget much thought, but this hidden gem can lend a helping hand when a flat tire or a loose screw may derail a picturesque and relaxing ride along the Cedar River.
“It’s nice for a person biking along the riverfront, which is quite a bit of activity,” said Charles City Parks and Recreation Director Steve Lindaman. “The feedback that we have received has been real positive. They think it’s a great idea.”
Bike season is winding down in northern Iowa, but that doesn’t mean the station won’t get its fair share of use from season-long riders who commute on bike regardless of the weather.
“It’s no different than if you are driving down the road with an automobile and you have a problem and to have some place you can get it fixed or take care of it yourself,” said Lindaman.
First Security Bank and Trust donated the tune-up station, which Lindaman said can run $2,000 to $3,000 for this particular model.
Lindaman said Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer, president/CEO of First Security Bank and Trust, brought the idea up to the Parks and Rec Board about the possibility of placing the bike tune-up station somewhere around town. Herbrechtsmeyer is a bike advocate and has helped organize some of the bike trails and rides in the Charles City area.
“He had seen one of these and he thought it was a really slick idea as to have a fixed station for bicyclists,” said Lindaman.
Lindaman said the Parks and Rec Board members were all in favor of it and the next step was where to place the station.
“We’ve tried to connect a number of focal points for people that might be using it versus setting it out in some remote area along the trail,” said Lindaman.
The station allows riders the ability to hang their bicycle to examine and fix it. There is an air pump to keep tires inflated. A Phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, Allen wrenches, open-ended crescent wrenches and tire levers are all connected to a cable system for easy retractable use.
“For most bicycles, it has the basic repair tools necessary,” said Lindaman. “I think it’s a very user–friendly type setup. It’s pretty easy to use.”
Could another bike tune-up station pop up around town anytime soon?
Lindaman didn’t rule that out and said that could depend on Charles City’s trail system expanding to other communities.
“It’s hard to say. It really is. If it gets used well enough and the trail gets expanded and goes elsewhere. … That’s been one of the tough issues — multiple years of talk, well can we connect to other communities? Can we go to Nashua? Can we go to Osage? That direction. Can we get to Riceville?” Lindaman said.
In the meantime, year-long bike riders will continue to have a safety net.
“It was a nice addition to our bike trail system to make available for not only our community use but visitors coming through,” said Lindaman.