Bicyclists who live and work in Greater Bangor, and those passing through the Queen City on longer trips, now have a place where they can make some simple repairs for free.
The green bike repair kiosk was erected last week between West Market and Pickering squares in downtown Bangor. It appears to be the first bicycle fix-it station outside a college community in Maine.
It includes an air pump to inflate tires and a mounting rack that fits beneath seats to hold bicycles off the ground so wheels may spin freely. The eight-piece toolkit, which is connected to the green metal kiosk with steel cables, includes different sized wrenches, screwdrivers and tire levers.
It was donated to the city by Bangor Greendrinks, a networking group devoted to promoting sustainability. It cost the group $1,300.
Greg Edwards, secretary of Greendrinks, understands the need for a bike repair station downtown. Edwards, 28, of Bangor rides his bicycle to his office on Columbia Street every day, no matter the weather.
“Preferably, you don’t have to repair your bike on the go, but flat tires happen more often than you think they would,” he said Friday while demonstrating how a cyclist might use the station.
Edwards said he was not sure how many people in Bangor regularly cycle to work, but said the number appears to be growing.
“I don’t have a permanent free parking space at my office,” Edwards, who uses his car for longer trips, said. “It takes me about four minutes to ride to work. It takes me at least five to drive.”
The other repair kiosks in Maine are on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine and at Bates College in Lewiston, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. So far, Portland has no fix-it stations, Troy Moon, that city’s sustainability coordinator, said Friday.
“We’re very excited to see this kiosk coming to Bangor,” Frank Gallagher of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine said Friday. “The Bangor Greendrinks organization has been doing some great work to make Bangor better for bicycling. In the past, some of the funds raised from their events paid for bike racks in Bangor, and this new kiosk will be a big help for Bangor cyclists.”
Last year, the group paid $2,300 for a bike rack at the Bangor Public Library. Prior to that, it donated smaller racks that were installed downtown to encourage bikers to visit the downtown area.
The Bangor fix-it station was built by Dero, a Minneapolis-based firm that specializes in bike racks, bike shelters, signage for bike lanes and repair kiosks.
Roger Sherwood, 50, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, stopped abruptly Friday morning as he headed toward the parking garage to check out the kiosk. Visiting Maine on vacation, Sherwood said he bikes frequently in Florida’s state parks for pleasure and was headed to Acadia National Park, where he planned to bike.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, snapping a picture with his phone. “This is fantastic.”