St. Marys Journal Argus
As part of a very unique public relations campaign, the Toronto-based Steam Whistle brewery has been opening do-it-yourself basic bicycle repair stations in popular cycling locations across Ontario. The latest was unveiled Tuesday, May 26 at Wildwood Conservation Area near St. Marys.
The Wildwood unveiling marked an extra-special day in the ongoing campaign, which has already seen several repair stations opened up on big-city bike trail routes favoured by commuters, as well as popular recreational mountain biking areas like the Hardwood Hills resort near Barrie — where competitions will take place during the upcoming Pan Am Games. That's because the co-founder of Steam Whistle, opened up over a decade ago in the heart of downtown Toronto's former railway lands, is a native of St. Marys.
Greg Taylor was on hand on Tuesday to share in the Wildwood celebration, wearing a custom-made Steam Whistle bicycle jersey and even testing out the air pump that's included as part of the repair station to make sure it was in good working order. He noted the idea actually came from his wife, Sybil — another in a long line of outside-the-box ideas that has led to Steam Whistle being one of the most recognized beer brands in Ontario.
"We’ve already installed one at Boler Mountain in London last year and the mountain bikers and the snowboarders use the station year-round," Sybil Taylor told the Journal Argus in a recent email. "The Fanshawe Lake Conservation area mountain bike trails got theirs on time for opening day in April this year. (And) the Arlington Hotel in Paris just put theirs in last week."
The do-it-yourself stations include a bike repair stand, a foot pump for pumping up tires, several basic tools attached to cables so they can't be removed, and a wash station with a hose and nozzle.
According to Taylor, the stations have been such a hit in the cycling community that Steam Whistle has even received requests from bicycle repair shop owners to situate a station nearby their own businesses. He says the repair shop owners have grown weary of people stopping into their stores to request very basic assistance like blowing up tires — which can be time-consuming of it takes service technicians away from with more intricate tasks.
Wildwood Conservation Area Superintendent Paul Switzer was also in attendance at the repair station unveiling on Tuesday, and he noted mountain biking at the park — owned and operated by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority — is getting more popular all the time. Next up is the annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival on Saturday, June 13, with proceeds once again going to The Lung Association.