New Bike Repair Shop Rolls Out


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 31, 2011) -- University of Kentucky employees who have been on campus for many years are saying they have never seen as many bicycles on campus, or on Lexington city streets traveling to and from campus, for that matter. Observations like that make Shane Tedder, UK’s sustainability coordinator, flash a toothy grin.

That’s the kind of bike population Tedder has been pursuing for many years. Recently, biking enthusiasts have lobbied for and won — more bike lanes on city streets, better bike racks on campus, mandatory bike registration to thwart theft, partnerships that will provide dedicated funding for campus bike improvement, new campus regulations allowing bikes to share inner-campus sidewalks with pedestrians, a thriving Wildcat Wheels Bike Repair Shop, and many other large and small steps that have resulted in many, many more two wheelers cruising around campus.

In order to better serve UK’s cyclists, Wildcat Wheels launches a new bike repair shop on wheels today. Forestry junior James Baunach, a Louisville native with three years of experience in the Wildcat Wheels Bike Repair Shop, will park the slightly bizarre, custom-made 250-pound bicycle ambulance in front of Kirwan Tower from 5-7 p.m. every Wednesday, weather permitting. Students need only roll their ailing bikes to the mobile kiosk for free bike repairs. The mobile bike repair shop, fully loaded with an array of tools and supplies, gives Baunach the ability to tackle almost any maintenance or repair a bike needs.

Baunach, aboard the Wildcat Wheels mobile bike repair shop, will also make randomly scheduled rides across campus, stopping at crowded bike racks or for stranded riders. Wildcat Wheels will also work with RAs to schedule bike maintenance clinics or safe riding skills presentations at residence halls.

“This is a fully functioning bike repair shop on wheels. We are equipped to fix brakes, repair flats, true a wheel, make cable adjustments, anything except very high-end frame repairs,” Tedder said, adding that UK’s mobile repair shop is one of only a handful in the country.

The mobile repair shop also comes supplied with free copies of “Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally and Safely,” a highly acclaimed booklet that details what could be life-saving riding skills, such as how and where to ride on narrow city streets as well as four-lane, high-traffic zones; how to plan for escape plans in dangerous situations; and how to steer and brake around an array of road and weather hazards.

The mobile repair bike is one of the projects funded by an $8,000 grant from the Paula Nye Memorial Education Grant for Bicyclists and Pedestrian Safety that Wildcat Wheels received in 2009. The Paula Nye program is administered by the Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeways Commission and is supported by the sale of Kentucky's Share the Road specialty license plates.

After Wildcat Wheels won the Paula Nye grant in 2009, Tedder ordered the frame, which was custom built in Oregon. Upon receipt of the frame in fall 2010, Tedder recruited UK School of Design student Craig Chamberlain to design the wooden box to hold the tools and supplies. A team of six Bike Shop student-employees and Tedder then built the wooden tool box by hand and secured it to the heavy-weight bike frame.

“We decided on this use of the grant money because we wanted to reach out to students, to go where they lived, where they ride their bikes,” said Baunach. “So, we decided to take it to the streets.”

For more information or to schedule a visit from the Wildcat Wheels mobile bike repair shop, email or drop by the shop, located in the basement of Blazer Hall with an entrance open to the walkway between Blazer and New North residence halls, during business hours, Monday and Tuesday 4-8 p.m. and Fridays 2-6 p.m.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Gail Hairston, (859) 257-3302 or