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Volunteers offer free bicycle tuneups at Superior pop-up clinic

Drew Anderson, a mechanic from the Bike Cave, works on a bike during the Pop-Up Bike Shop at Wade Bowl Park in Superior on Thursday, May 9. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 1 / 4
Drew Anderson, a mechanic from the Bike Cave, works on a bike during the Pop-Up Bike Shop at Wade Bowl Park in Superior on Thursday, May 9. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 2 / 4
Chelsea Froemke, a mechanic from the Bike Cave, works on spokes during the Pop-Up Bike Shop. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 3 / 4
Chelsea Froemke, a mechanic from the Bike Cave, talks to some kids as she works on spokes during the Pop-Up Bike Shop at Wade Bowl Park. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)4 / 4

Volunteer bicycle mechanics set up shop at Wade Bowl Park in Superior on Thursday, May 9, to offer free tuneups and repairs.

Maddy Wegener of Duluth borrowed a friend's truck to bring her Schwinn bike to the event. Although it was her daily driver last year, the bike was suffering from a rusty chain and bad brakes.

"It will be nice to get out on the old gal," she said.

Behind her in line were two more Duluth cyclers, Annette Niemiec and Katie Bakke.

Niemiec had brake and tire issues; Bakke's rear wheel was rubbing against the frame and she brought her son's bike in for a checkup as well.

"I saw it on Facebook," Niemiec said of the event. "It's my day off."

She was looking forward to being "back on the bike."

Volunteer mechanics said the most common problems they see at pop-up clinics are stretched-out cables and issues with brakes and derailers. They're often called on to inflate tires and apply a little grease, as well. The yearly attention gets bikers on the road and prevents waste.

"You'd be surprised the issues that people will throw their bikes away for that are actually pretty fixable," said mechanic Drew Anderson of the Bike Cave.

"With just a half-turn of a screw sometimes," said mechanic John Seit with Ski Hut of Duluth.

Their biggest bike care advice was to store them indoors out of the weather.

This is the second year Superior has hosted a bike pop-up shop in conjunction with Zeitgeist Community's Bus Bike Walk, a month-long focus on active transportation in the Twin Ports.

Last year, 93 bikes were worked on at three community bike pop-ups. Forty-five of those were seen in Superior, according to Shawna Mullen, active living coordinator with Zeitgeist.

"Last year was definitely the most well-attended so far," Mullen said.

The clinics encourage people to consider biking as a transportation option.

"It gets people thinking about it again, to pull their bike out of the basement or garage or the attic or wherever they put it and start riding it," said James Gittemeier with the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council, one of the Bus Bike Walk partners.

He said it's important to offer a pop-up in Superior because the city doesn't have any bike shops. It does, however, offer good conditions for biking.

"Superior is flat and the distances to get from place to place are really good ideal, bikeable distances," Gittemeier said.

The city will be examining ways to get more people biking, in-line skating and walking this summer. Superior has received a state grant to put together an active transportation plan with the help of Toole Design Group.

"We're doing the internal planning and scoping right now," Superior Mayor Jim Paine said. A committee of transportation experts was finalized last week.

"This is the first month, but we're going to move fast," Paine said. "We hope to have the plan done and policies produced within a year."

More information on the plan and opportunities for public input are expected to be discussed during the Mayor's Bike Ride from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 8 in Superior. The ride begins at the Yellowjacket Union at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and will include a stop for lunch at Thirsty Pagan Brewing's new location in the Winter Street Depot. Everyone is invited to pedal along.

During Thursday's pop-up at Wade Bowl, mechanics serviced 24 bikes. A second pop-up will be offered from 4:30-7 p.m. June 13 during the opening day of the Lincoln Park Farmers Market, 3002 W. Third St., Duluth.

Visit the Duluth-Superior Bus Bike Walk month Facebook page or https://zeitgeistarts.com under "community events" for more information about upcoming activities.

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