by Cori Hilsgen
Bicycling enthusiasts who ride the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail now have more options to repair their bikes if they break down on the trail.
The Lake Wobegon Trails Association recently teamed up with local Lions clubs and private donors to install Fixit bike repair stations in seven towns on the trail.
They were installed in St. Joseph, Avon, Albany, Freeport, Melrose, Sauk Centre and Holdingford. Possible repair stations are also being considered for West Union and/or Osakis, Waite Park and Bowlus.
Lake Wobegon Trail Association President Jan Lasar said the organization felt adding repair stations at each trailhead would send a clear message to local and out-of-town bicyclists that they want people to come here, ride the trail and have all the tools needed to make the visit more pleasant.
The repair stations are installed either right at the trailheads or in a very conspicuous place on the trail.
Each repair station is made of bright-yellow heavy-duty steel. A tube about five feet tall, which is open in the front, contains repair tools such as screw drivers, wrenches and tire levers that hang from cables. Two parallel arms open out at a 90-degree angle toward the front, which can be used to hang a bike by the seat post while a rider works on it. A heavy-duty tire pump is mounted on the side of the unit.
Sartell residents Lisa and Steve Tax were recently happy to use the tire pump at the St. Joseph location. The two said they ride the trails a few times each month during the summer.
Lisa is a first-grade teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School in Sartell, and Steve is a differentiation specialist at Westwood Elementary School in St. Cloud.
The Fixit stations were purchased from Dero in Fridley and cost about $1,100 each, including the pump.
The St. Joseph Y2K Lions offered to pay for the entire unit located at the St. Joseph trailhead. The trails’ association had budgeted to pay up to half of each unit.
“We helped with setting up the installation of the unit and the pouring of a concrete slab, which was done by the city’s park department, and we are also very thankful for that,” Lasar said.
The association plans to attach sponsorship decals on the units.
“The association’s job is to promote and enhance the Lake Wobegon Trail and see it extended into Waite Park,” Lasar said. “This is our first tangible project we’ve done.”
He said the association is always looking for people who are passionate about the trail to join the team. There is no fee to join.
The organization holds three fundraiser rides each year. They include the Carmel Roll Ride, Lady Slipper Ride and Caramel Apple Ride.
For more information about the trail, visit the website lakewobegontrail.com.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.