There’s very few things more frustrating than your mode of transportation breaking down when you’re on your way to a destination.

It’s happened to me in a car, on a bus and even on a bicycle. Like I said, you’re left stressed out and exasperated.

Bike riders in the Wilkesboros now have help when a tire goes flat or a chain comes undone: two repair stations were installed earlier this month, and two more are coming soon.

The Saris Bike Fixtations at West Park Medical Park and Smoot Park in North Wilkesboro include air pumps if your two-wheeled friends are ever feeling deflated.

Soon we’ll see repair stations at Cub Creek Park and the Carolina West Community Commons in Wilkesboro.

The towns are becoming more bike friendly thanks to the efforts of the Health Foundation Inc. of West Park, who secured a grant from the state to purchase the four bike repair stations.

Heather Murphy, executive director of the Health Foundation, told me last week the grant exceeding $8,000 was awarded through a branch of the N.C. Division of Public Health called Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health.

“Many avid cyclists will already know how to use the tools, but we do hope to have some clinics once COVID-19 restrictions ease,” said Murphy. “Bicycling is a popular way to have fun outdoors and is great exercise. We hope the community enjoys these new tools.”

Heather’s husband, Tim Murphy, himself an avid cyclist and author of “Road Cycling the Blue Ridge High Country,” wrote the grant application that was accepted.

Heather Murphy said they were made aware of the grant opportunity through the foundation’s involvement in North Carolina’s “Eat Smart, Move More” program. “The collaborative effort to meet the terms of the grant is a direct result of the great research our Wilkes on Wheels Team did to identify ways to make Wilkes a more bike-friendly community.”

During this research, Murphy said it became clear that being able to maintain repairs on a bicycle is a barrier to families that would like to ride. “We held some very popular bike fix-it workshops and found many of the repairs were simple—if you had the right tools and a bit of knowledge.”

This work led to the formation of the Wilkes Outdoor Economy Team, which has identified key locations in the towns where they can provide equitable biking access to those who might otherwise lack access.

Each town is installing the bike racks, Fixtations and signage, as per the terms of the grant agreement.

The local outdoor economy team is creating an asset map of amenities in Wilkes as another step towards Wilkes being recognized for its outstanding outdoor assets, which includes 8.3 miles of trail at Cub Creek (with more than four more miles coming this year) and 50-plus miles of single track around the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir.

I’ve said it before, but it’s exciting to see concrete recreational amenities like these bike repair stations taking root in the Wilkesboros. We’re making real progress in using the outdoor economy as a new means of fiscal stimulation.

It’s also nice for bikers to know that if they break down in the Wilkesboros, help is just a short push away.

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