2017-05-19 / Community

Bike repair depots added to county fire stations

In all, 16 locations will be available
By Hector Gonzalez

The proverbial light bulb switched on when Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Jack Nosco discovered that Giant Bicycles Inc. has a bike repair station for its employees.

“Why not put one of these in every county fire station?” Nosco thought after visiting the Newbury Park-based company last year.

That spark of inspiration means 16 new bike repair stations will go up at firehouses around Ventura County over the next year. The first made its public debut Mon., May 15 at the fire department’s Lake Sherwood Station 33 in Thousand Oaks.

“It used to be that if you got a flat tire, you could go to a gas station and they’d give you air and maybe some tools,” Nosco said. “Gas stations don’t do that anymore.”

Five other repair stations will be installed this month, which is National Bike Month. They’ll be added to Fire Station 42 in Moorpark, Station 25 in Rincon, Station 53 in Port Hueneme, Station 21 in Ojai and Station 56 in Malibu.

Over the next year, 10 other bike repair stations will open at or near firehouses elsewhere in the county, including one in Camarillo, although the exact locations and the dates of their installations are still to be decided, fire department spokesperson Heather Sumagaysay said.

“The idea is to get them at the most-traveled cycling routes in the county,” Nosco said, adding that the repair locations were selected based on a survey of cyclists and their favorite biking areas.

Each station will have an air pump and tools to fix a flat tire, as well as a mount onto which riders can hang a bike to make repairs.

The repair stands cost about $1,300 each. The money is coming from the fire department’s budget, Sumagaysay said.

She said putting them at or near firehouses makes good sense.

“Our fire stations are commonly used as resting or rendezvous points by the bicycle community,” she said. “Many stations have installed drinking fountains out front, and newer stations have restrooms with access from the outside.”

Last year Nosco went to Giant Bicycles to enlist officials there in the Mike Nosco Memorial Bike Ride. The fire captain has held the annual charitable event since 2008 in memory of his younger brother, a U.S. Navy veteran who was killed at age 24 in a traffic collision in Camarillo in 2004.

“The Mike Nosco Memorial Bike Ride was born from the grief of losing him,” Nosco said. “I created the ride as a result of that, but it’s also kept me connected to the cycling world.”

At Giant Bicycles, Nosco learned the company’s bike repair station was installed by Dero, a Minneapolis-based company that produces and sells the stations as well as bike locking devices and other bike-related gear. So the fire captain contacted the company.

Dero has installed similar repair stations “all over downtown Los Angeles,” said Greg Heining, the company’s Los Angeles region sales manager.

“They’re very helpful and serve as a public utility,” he said.

Jen Audia, U.S. marketing manager for Giant Bicycles and a bicycling enthusiast, said she’s surprised the county hasn’t had bike repair stations before now.

“I’m just excited about this being in the county,” she said. “I don’t know why Ventura County hasn’t had these before.”

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