This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion
Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department set up a bike fix-it station on Monday in front of the Soldotna Sports Center.
BIK&S, AK, which stands for Biking in Kenai and Soldotna, helped install the fix-it station along the Unity Trail using scrap metal, bike tools donated by Beemuns Bike and Ski Loft and a pump donated by Cook Inletkeeper. Joel Todd, assistant director for Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department said the advocacy group, BIK&S, AK, has been working with the Parks and Recreation Departments in Kenai and Soldotna on several bike-related projects this summer, including a fix-it station in Kenai, which was installed by a Kenai Central High School student at Beaver Creek Park just last month.
BIK&S, AK is a community-led advocacy group that promotes safe bike travel between the cities of Kenai and Soldotna.
“This group envisions bike-friendly communities where bicycling is a convenient, routine, safe, and healthy transportation option that contributes to the high quality of life for Kenai Peninsula residents and visitors,” a press release sent by Soldotna Parks and Recreation stated.
Both stations include a bike stand, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, tire levers, box wrenches and a pump. Todd said the station includes all the tools necessary to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs.
BIK&S, AK is currently working toward the submission of two Bicycle Friendly Community applications with The League of American Bicyclists. It involves an extensive analysis of current bike-friendly resources in both Soldotna and Kenai. The results will be used to improve biking conditions in the community.
Todd said he hopes other people and businesses take an interest in creating a friendlier bike community.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture of bikes in our community,” Todd said.
Todd said they are working towards a bike stand initiative to improve bike parking around Kenai and Soldotna.
“Most of the areas where you can lock your bike are outdated and don’t meet national standards,” Todd said. “We’re wanting to move away from the old-fashioned bike racks and do something maybe fish themed that can also act as art.”
Another project the group is working towards is improving bike lanes, education about biking and signage along community trails.
“If you’re not from around here, or don’t know Soldotna very well, it can be intimidating to navigate some of these back roads,” Todd said.
BIK&S, AK organizes a monthly group bike ride held every full moon. The next ride will be at 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Soldotna Creek Park. Halloween costumes are encouraged.