Pedaling furiously along a trail, switching gears to get more power and hearing a "ka-chunk" as the chain falls from the gears is not something a cyclist wants to hear.

If the cyclist does not have the right tools to fix the problem, it can be a long walk home or back to the car.

Now, help is available at a variety of spots throughout Berks County, where bicycle repair stations have been installed along popular biking routes.

The most recent one was installed by Wyomissing Borough personnel on Jan. 10 on the Wyomissing Trail near the intersection of Old Mill and Old Wyomissing roads.

"We are working on a multi-modal network, called Wyoways, and the station fit in with that perfectly," said Rob Lewis, parks and recreation director for Wyomissing.

The Dero Fixit Station was purchased by Oakbrook Brewing Co., 628 Park Ave., Reading. This past summer, the brewery launched its special Cyclepathic Blonde beer, with the proceeds going toward improving the local cycling community.

"We had enough to do two bike repair stations and almost enough for a third," said Kyle Neuheimer, owner and head brewer at Oakbrook Brewing Co. 

He said each repair station cost about $1,500. 

The other repair station was placed outside of the brewery on Park Avenue in 2019, and Neuheimer said Oakbrook Brewing may go ahead and kick in the rest of the money for a third station near Brentwood Industries.

Berks is growing as a cycling destination, and Neuheimer said he is proud to enhance that perception.

Steve Koch, 58, of Cumru Township has been competing in bike races since 1981, and at this time of the year he gets out and cycles two or three days a week. In the summer, those outings accelerate to six or seven days a week.

Repair stations popping up

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A newly installed bicycle repair station on Old Mill Road near the intersection with Old Wyomissing Road in Wyomissing.

He and other cyclists are noticing the bicycle repair stations popping up along popular riding trails.

"It's definitely beneficial," Koch said.

The Berks Area Mountain Biking Association started installing Dero Fixit repair stations along trails in 2018. The organization received a $2,000 grant from the Harry and Bonnie Boyer Charitable Account to kick things off. Harry is a local cyclist who owns Boyer's Food Markets Inc.

Fred Moreadith, a BAMBA board member who handles public relations, explained that his club was able to acquire three Dero Fixit Stands from Quality Bike Products in Lancaster County through Nick Loftus, who is distribution supervisor there and president of the Susquehanna Area Mountain Biking Association.

"We were able to get three stands, pumps and the shipping for $2,000," Moreadith said. "The retail value of them was about $2,000 each."

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The Berks Area Mountain Biking Association added on three tools to the standard Dero Fixit bike repair stations it has installed. The tools include a torx drive, in blue in the middle, a quick-release chain tool at the bottom in blue and a chain breaker, to the right of the quick-release tool.

The ones BAMBA ordered featured additional tools than the standard model: a torx driver set, a quick release device for chains and a chain breaker.

The three installed in 2018 were at the BAMBA trail head parking area at 2 List Road on Mount Penn, the main parking area at Antietam Lake Park in Lower Alsace Township and at the end of the Union Canal Trail near the upper lot of the Stilling Basin parking area at Blue Marsh.

At the end of 2018, BAMBA member Dodson Dietrich donated $1,000 toward the installation costs, which covers concrete, lag bolts and additional tools, Moreadith said.

In 2019, Harry Boyer donated another $2,000 for bike repair stations and Loftus was able to get three stations at a discount.

In June, BAMBA paid $2,350 for three Dero Fixit Stands and they have been installed at the Church Road parking area of Blue Marsh along Route 183, at the Ninth Street gate on Neversink Mountain and at the Berks County parks office along the Gring's Mill Trail.

"BAMBA made up the cost difference from its general fund," Moreadith said.

The stations require a concrete pad to be installed and include a metal tool kiosk with a built-in elevated bike stand hanger. A separate air pump is available and installed at most stations.

"The Fixit includes all the tools necessary to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs," according to the manufacturer, Dero. "The tools are securely attached to the stand with stainless steel cables and tamper-proof fasteners."

Berks Nature also installed a Dero Fixit repair station at The Nature Place when it opened in 2017.

At the time, the unit was purchased for $1,200, according to Tami J. Shimp, vice president of development and community relations for Berks Nature. She said it was financed through the funds donated for the construction of The Nature Place.

More on the way

On Dec. 12, 2019, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Philadelphia at the Walnut Street Trailhead for the first of seven planned bicycle repair stations along the Schuylkill River Trail. The planned sites in Berks County are at the Union Meadows West Trailhead in Union Township and at the Birdsboro Trailhead on Armorcast Road.

One station has been installed in Phoenixville at the Mowere Road Trailhead, and the other planned SRT stations are for Riverfront Park Trailhead in Pottstown, East Falls Trailhead in Philadelphia and Gay Street Trailhead in Spring City, Chester County.

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A QR code to scan for repair instructions on a newly installed bicycle repair station on Old Mill Road near the intersection with Old Wyomissing Road in Wyomissing.

Schuylkill River Greenways is installing the Dero Fixit stations along the SRT.

Elaine Schaefer, executive director of Schuylkill River Greenways, said the stations were funded in part by grants from outdoor supplier REI and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They were about $1,400 each, she said, adding that SRG paid to wrap the repair units with trail information and logos.

"All of the units have been delivered to the host municipalities," Schaefer said.

Jason A. Wager, manager and secretary/treasurer of Union Township, said installation is weather dependent, and he hopes to have the station installed in March or April.

Birdsboro receptionist Carol MacAllister confirmed the borough has received the unit, but a date for its installation has not yet been determined.

French Creek State Park, the majority of which is in Union Township, also has purchased two repair stations.

"They will be installed before April 2020," James Wassell, park operations manager for the French Creek /Marsh Creek State Park Complex, said in an email. "Locations are not finalized yet."

He also said Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County has just installed two bike repair stations.

"One at the dam and one at 800 N. Reeds Road at the West Launch parking area," Wassell said.

Map of existing and planned bicycle repair stations in Berks

Filling tires with air at a Dero Fixit station

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