Time to ride! Free, pop-up bike workshops provide needed repairs

Spring is bike season, and if your bike, or your kids' bikes, have been sitting in the garage for months, it could be a good idea to check them out before taking a ride.

Tri-State Trails, along with other active transportation groups, are offering a series of pop-up workshops around the city this spring. You can take your bikes there, get them checked out by trained mechanics, and have any repairs made, all at no charge.

“We're trying to make sure that people's bikes are safe, and that they can feel empowered to use them for recreation, for wellness, or even for commuting for their everyday chores, or getting to work or school,” says Caitlin Sparks of Tri-State Trails.

The group is a not-for-profit alliance dedicated to improving access to bicycling and expanding the region’s trail network.

The pop-up shops are open to anyone with a bike, kids or adults. The emphasis is on improving safety. Bike mechanics will volunteer their time for four or five hours, assess the safety and integrity of the two-wheeled transportation and fix whatever needs fixing.

Brakes are the most needed repair, with almost 40% of the bikes needing that critical fix. Tires and the drivetrain system are also common elements that need work. The average repair time is about a half hour.

Equipment such as bike locks and safety lights may also be available for free at the pop-ups, and so are other resources, such as trail maps.

Tri-State Trails has collaborated with MoBo Bicycle Co-op, Queen City Bike, Red Bike, Reser Bicycle Outfitters, REI, and other organizations to fund and staff the workshops.    

“We want to eliminate the barrier that sometimes exists with bicycle repair, which can be expensive sometimes,” Sparks says. “We're trying to get people out on their bikes, make sure they're feeling safe, give them some route options, and just try to connect them to what's going on here locally.”

The pop ups are usually held during community neighborhood events. Here’s the schedule for the rest of the year:
  • Thursday, June 1, 5 to 8 pm at Camp Washington Farmers Market
  • Saturday, June 17, 10 am to 2 pm at Evanston Health and Wellness Day
  • Saturday, July 15, 11 am to 2 pm at Dayton, Ky. Pop-Up Bike Shop and Traffic Garden Demo
  • Saturday, Aug. 19, 9 am to 1 pm at Norwood Off Pike Market
  • Saturday, Sept. 30, 11 am to 2 pm at Avondale Day

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.