Bird Point’s New Bike Fixit Station
By Marc Donadieu
Glacier City Gazette
To celebrate National Bike Month, CRW Engineering Group, LLC installed a new bike fixit station at Bird Point, located on Seward Hwy MP 96.3.
The highly visible, bright red fixit station, located beside the beluga whale statues, is stocked with basic bicycle repair tools connected by metal cables, complete with an air pump. The tools allow bicyclists to make a variety of adjustments while their bikes hang by the seat with sturdy hangar arms, allowing for optimum alterations for brakes, derailleurs and tires.
CRW Principals Matt Edge and Brendan Mckee attended the installation, while CRW Principal Brian Looney explained the Anchorage firm’s purpose for installing these stations in popular places. Bicyclists may find themselves in need of unexpected adjustments or repairs and not have the required tools at hand. CRW Engineering was looking for a convenient bicycling location with a lot of potential use that would benefit from the station’s installation.
“We’re advocates for non-motorized transportation,” Looney said. “For the last three years, we’ve been purchasing these fixit stations. We have two in Anchorage, one in Palmer and one in Fairbanks. This is the fifth one we’ve installed and donated to the community.”
Looney said the location is great because it is near the Gird to Bird Trail, bikers begin rides at Bird Point and go in either direction, and it is a midway point for cyclists starting in Indian. Bicyclists could benefit from the location to use tools to make readjustments, inflate tires, modify brakes and derailleurs, before, during or after a ride, depending on the starting point.
The biggest part of the fixit station installation was drilling holes to bolt it into the cement, which usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.
“This time I worked at it for 25 minutes,” Looney said. “I didn’t get them as deep as I wanted. This is the hardest concrete I’ve ever dealt with.”
Placement of a fixit station depends on having the least likelihood of tool theft and vandalism based on lessons learned from previous installations. Three years ago, CRW Engineering put up its first station on the Campbell Creek Trail, and within a week someone had cut the steel cables holding the eight tools. The station was later relocated to Tudor Road and C Street.
The tools consist of flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, a tool for adjusting derailleur screws, spanner wrenches, a pedal tightener, a headset tool, tools to remove a tire from the rim, an Allen wrench, and a miscellaneous, multi-use tool. The air pump has fittings for Schrader and presta valves and the hose has magnets that hold it to the metal housing to stay off of the ground.
“Part of our commitment to donate these things is ongoing maintenance to make sure they work and the tools are still in place,” Looney said.
The fixit station features also features a barcode cyclists can use their phone to read and connect them to a webpage for a series of YouTube videos with directions on how to make repairs. Signs will be placed on the Gird to Bird Trail to let cyclists know about the nearby fixit station.
Looney described CRW Engineering as mostly civil engineering, with some surveying and other disciplines. “Our company is 75 people,” he said. “We’re located in Anchorage, and we have an office in Palmer. We’re mostly civil and survey engineers, with electrical, mechanical and super-structural.”
CRW Engineering partnered with Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the property owners where the station resides, and Girdwood Brewing Company (GBC). The brewery is a popular destination for bicyclists who park on different points of the Bird to Gird Trail and ride to the brewery and back. CRW Engineering approached GBC and asked if it was interested in putting a fixit station in and checking on it periodically. From the Bird Point fixit station, fresh beer is an easy eight-mile ride away.
Representing GBC’s group of co-owners were Shauna Hegna, who is also Koniag, Inc. President; Rory Marenco, Brew Engineer; and Josh Hegna, Director of Marketing/Beer Ambassador.
“We know a lot of the CRW Engineering people through skiing, rafting and biking,” Josh said. “They’re an outdoor community. My brother works there too.”
After the installation and interviews concluded, the Hegnas pulled their bicycles out of their vehicle, hopped on them and peddled down the Gird to Bird to Girdwood for an enjoyable ride.