Centre Region residents don’t need a student ID card to use four new bicycle repair stations on campus.
Anyone riding through the area can stop at the stations — at Stadium West across from the Bryce Jordan Center, Thomas Building, Willard Building and Stuckeman Family Building.
The stations, called “Fixit,” allow riders to hang their bikes for repairs and include attached screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, an air pump and other common tools. They also offer a QR code that takes visitors to a bike repair website.
The stations are part of the university’s and region’s efforts to offer more bicycle amenities and encourage more people to ride. Both entities have achieved bicycle-friendly bronze status from the League of American Bicyclists.
“In recent years, we focused on bicycle parking and replacing racks,” said Tom Flynn, a landscape architect at Penn State. “Now that we’ve made some great accomplishments on that, we’re doing this.”
Flynn said he hopes to add stations but hasn’t yet studied where those might be.
He doesn’t know how many people ride on campus, but he said it’s easily 7,000 people.
“We see people who will drive in with their bike on their car and bike the rest of the way into campus,” Flynn said. “We’re seeing a lot more people biking.”
That includes commuters. Flynn rides three days a week, and Paul Ruskin, spokesman for Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, has cycled in from Houserville since 1976.
The university works with the region’s municipalities to improve cycling connections, and Ruskin said there was no path on his route when he started. Today there is, and he thanked Trish Meek, one of the region’s transportation planners.
“Trish made my life easier,” Ruskin said. “I now can bicycle safely.”
Both entities also are working to achieve a higher bicycle-friendly status.
“I do see the bronze level as a stepping stone,” Flynn said. “Not for the signs; it’s just what we want to do.”
Next, the university will work on adding more covered bicycle parking areas and a bicycle-sharing program on campus.
“People will decide to get on a bike if they can get here safely and there are amenities if something happens to their bike,” Flynn said.
Jessica VanderKolk writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.