Pop-Up Bike Shop series improves bike safety and accessibility

Friday, November 5, 2021 by Caitlin Sparks

This year, Tri-State Trails teamed up with local bicycle organizations and community groups to create eight Pop-Up Bike Shops in different communities across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Fueled by our vision of people safely riding bikes everywhere, we set up mobile bike shops in parks and community centers with bike repair stands, tool buckets, and bike gear give-aways.

The Pop-Up Bike Shop concept welcomed people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds and performs basic fixes on bikes of all builds. Tri-State Trails organized the first Pop Up Bike Shop in Avondale in 2019, and this year, the event grew into a series organized in partnership with Red Bike, Queen City Bike, MoBo Bicycle Co-op, and the Dayton Kentucky Park Board. Collectively our coalition fixed over 150 bikes and fitted many of them with rechargeable front and rear lights, sturdy U-locks, and baskets – all free to those who needed them. Participants were offered new helmets and reflective vests and had conversations with mechanics about their bike’s performance and how to keep it rolling smoothly for years to come. 

Tri-State Trails and community partners organized the first Pop-Up Bike Shop (formerly the Bike Party) in Avondale in 2019.

Many individuals expressed gratitude while they watched their bike come back to life. Claire Seid, a community organizer with Red Bike and MoBo Bicycle Co-op shared a highlight from the series, “After we fixed her bike, a woman in the West End came to me and said, ‘This is great, now I can get to the doctor!’ Free bike repair is actually changing lives.”

These events wouldn’t be possible without the steadfast volunteers who, for the first time, imagined, organized, and ran the mobile bike shops together. Joe Humpert with Queen City Bike said, “Together we remove obstacles to safe everyday active transit. It’s such an inspiration to envision a bike-friendly future for our region.”

Evanston Pop Up Bike Shop on April 3, 2021
Smiling families and community organizers at the Evanston Pop Up Bike Shop on April 3, 2021.
A happy participant from the Pop-Up Bike Shop hosted in Dayton Kentucky on May 8, 2021
A happy participant from the Pop-Up Bike Shop hosted in Dayton Kentucky on May 8, 2021.

We believe a bike-friendly future is happening now and it’s being built by a village. Tri-State Trails’ Gear Donation Program supplied the bicycle give-aways and the American Academy of Pediatrics donated 72 helmets. REI Cincinnati donated innertubes of all sizes. MoBo Bicycle Co-op and Queen City Bike’s volunteers hauled bike stands and tool buckets by bike to each event. Red Bike’s team offered mechanic expertise, provided music, and grilled out at some events. Staff and volunteers from community organizations like the Evanston Community Council and Boone County Public Library helped coordinate and promote the pop-ups within their neighborhoods. 

After a successful year, our team of partners is planning another series of Pop Up Bike Shops for 2022.  Stay tuned for more information about event locations and opportunities to get involved!

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