Solar-powered tune-up stations for cyclists to debut in metro - KMSP-TV

Solar-powered tune-up stations for cyclists to debut in metro

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Many Minnesotans are bringing their bicycles out of storage -- but a long and weary winter can leave some riders stranded as tires and parts fail. Starting Wednesday, they'll have a go-to spot for quick fixes on the go.

Every avid cyclist has a story about a bike ride they would rather forget.

"Just the other day I needed air in my tire," said Michael Osborn.

Rob Hensley told FOX 9 News it only took one flat tire for him before he started carrying tools in his backpack at all times.

"Tools and tubes for flat tires -- minor emergency stuff because it can really ruin your day," Hensley explained.

With that in mind, Pedal Minnesota teamed up with HealthPartners and launched a bike-friendly tune up station last summer. The response was impressive.

"We had organization in England tweeting about it," Eric Husband, executive director of Colli and McVoy, told FOX 9 News. "We had cities like Long Beach in California saying, 'Hey, we need to do this in our city!' It's a good way to have Minnesota lead the way and really showcase what we're doing for our own cyclists."

Husbands gave FOX 9 a sneak peek at this year's expanded version of the tune-up center. Pedal Minnesota is still putting on the finishing touches, but this year, there will be three stations instead of just one.

The solar-powered stations offer free air for bike tires, plus a bike rack and tools riders can use for a tune-up on the fly.

"New this year is the GPS-enabled bike station," Husband said. "What it really will be is a mobile station … peddling around your favorite places to bike."

A bike mechanic will man the mobile station on Saturdays. Other stationary units will be parked at the Greenway, Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis and the Wellstone Center in St. Paul. Tune-up stations will be rotated to different locations each month all summer.

"We have a simple mission: To put more people on more bikes more often," says Husband.

Eventually, Husband wants many more stations sprinkled all over the Twin Cities.

"We kind of have this nice tussle with Portland for the No. 1 bike city," he said. "We are a very ripe state for things like the bike-friendly station."

Everyone on two wheels who spoke with FOX 9 News said they'll be sure to check out the tune-up stations, but some aren't giving up the tools they carry just yet.

Bike friendly stations will be put in place on May 1st to kick of National Bike month. To find exact locations and learn more about what Pedal Minnesota has to offer click here:

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