Businesses embracing Fayetteville’s cyclist community

Two new bicycle racks and a bike maintenance station were recently installed at the newly remodeled Road Runner gas station and convenience store at College Avenue and Lafayette Street.

Photos by Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Thanks to the recent remodel of the Valero gas station at College Avenue at Lafayette Street, the aging backbone of Fayetteville’s street system can add a third corner to its list of recent makeovers at busy intersections.

Township Street has seen major renovations at both southern corners, with the large-scale developments of a new Kum & Go and Arvest Bank where vacant buildings stood for years. A third Township corner remodel will occur next year when a CVS Pharmacy replaces the Days Inn motel.

The transformation of the Valero station to one of its Road Runner concept stores, however, brought more than just a new building.

The company this week added two unique bicycle-shaped bike racks and a public bike maintenance station on the east side of the store parking lot.

Company officials are sometimes required to add bike racks when remodels take place, but that wasn’t the case with Valero Road Runner, said Jeremy Pate, the city’s development services director.

A crew works on a landscape bed after the installation of bike racks and a repair station.

Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The idea, he said, was all their own.

“Businesses are catching on to the fact that this city has a strong cyclist community,” said Pate. “The availability of secure bike parking can often dictate whether one will stop at an establishment or not.”

Plus, he said, the ability to get creative can help persuade companies to cater more to the city’s growing community of cyclists.

City code hasn’t always been so friendly when it comes to bike rack design. For years, the only option was the basic U-shaped racks seen in most places around town.

City planners, however, saw an opportunity to promote creativity and recently introduced ordinance changes to allow more flexibility in bike rack designs.

The colorful racks installed last year on Block Avenue were some of the first to crop up.

Repair and maintenance stations are also becoming more popular in Fayetteville. A station with an air pump and several tools was installed along Frisco Trail last year as a partnership between two local businesse and an area non-profit organization.

While most of College Avenue doesn’t see the kind of high-density bicycle traffic that areas along the city’s bike trails do, it’s not uncommon to see cyclists riding along College Avenue between the neighborhoods near Lafayette Street and downtown Fayetteville.

Here’s hoping for more College Avenue improvements in the future. Even if it’s something as simple as adding a bike rack or two.