TUCSON, AZ (January 27, 2016) – Minneapolis based bicycle tool manufacturer, Park Tool, has announced the recipients of its 2016 Community Tool Grant Program, which provides community non-profits with more than $1,400 worth of Park Tool products, including a repair stand, tools and Park’s bicycle repair book. Living Streets Alliance was one of 10 winners selected out of more than 200 organizations who applied nationally.
“We were truly blown away by the quantity and quality of the applicants for the ten Park Tool Community Tool Grants this year. It’s great to see so many people and organizations doing amazing things in their communities to help get more people on bikes. Though we wish we could have helped more this year, we encourage those who didn’t receive a grant in 2016 to reapply next year for consideration in 2017,” says Eric Hawkins, Park Tool’s president/owner and chief mechanic.
Living Streets Alliance (LSA) will utilize the grant to provide tools for a Mobile Bike Repair service it plans to launch this spring, as part of its Safe Routes to School Tucson program in partnership with the City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian program. Now in its second year, Safe Routes to School Tucson is experiencing tremendous growth and demand. Last October, about 10,000 K-8 students from 45 schools in nine school districts throughout the region participated in the second annual WALKtober Walk to School Challenge, which rewards students for walking and biking to and/or from school during the month of October.
Despite the program’s huge success in such a short time, coordinators have identified many challenges that remain for children and families hoping to utilize bicycles for daily transportation. “We’ve discovered that more often that not, when a kid’s bike gets a flat tire or needs a minor repair, it gets set aside and completely forgotten,” says Sarah Prasek, Program Manager for Safe Routes to School Tucson. “There are a lot of families that just don’t have the time or resources to get to a bike shop, so their kids’ bikes sit in the garage or get old, rusty, and sun-weathered out in the yard. Through Mobile Bike Repair, we hope to bring that service to families for free, and keep kids riding!”
“We are honored to be the recipient of this grant,” says Emily Yetman, Executive Director of LSA. “This program will help get more kids on bikes that are safe to ride, help them be able to ride more often, which is great for their daily exercise needs and health, and – best of all – they’ll learn how to do basic bike maintenance for themselves.” Yetman mentions that as part of the Mobile Bike Repair Service, mechanics engage students in repairing their own bikes, giving them the basic knowledge they need to be able to fix a flat tire for themselves down the road. And, while at area schools, Safe Routes to School Tucson can share safety materials and tips to ensure that Tucson youth know the rules of the road. “We hope that eliminating this one small barrier will help more Tucson youth adopt healthy transportation habits and a love for bicycling that will stay with them throughout their lifetime.”