Book store

Deep River Bookstore offers free bike repair station to promote alternative transport

DEEP RIVER — An independent second-hand bookseller along the Connecticut River has created a free bike repair station for cyclists that the owner hopes will encourage more people to use alternative transportation.

The simple structure has a rack to hold a bike, attached tools for common repairs and an air pump. Accessible during the day outside the bookstore at 171 Main Street, Bennett believes it’s one of the few in the state.


Service is available to those who live in or visit the Sylvantide Valley, also known as the Lower Connecticut Valley. It includes a number of other towns in lower Middlesex county including Westbrook, Old Saybrook, East Hampton, East Haddam, Lyme and Old Lyme.

The shop’s past projects have included a seed-sharing station, a plant exchange, the distribution of free books to low-income households, and a “Freedge” community stocked with free food.

“If there’s money left after we pay our bills, what’s left goes into the community – helping people by encouraging and fostering the culture of cycling here; making sure no child goes to bed hungry and that children have access to books,” Bennett said.

It is in the process of applying for non-profit association status.

The project was born thanks to the support of the community. Tools were donated by companies such as Airline Cycles in Colchester and Wayward Woods help in Haddam, along with advice from Essex Hardware.

“Bicycle repair stations are now commercially available,” the owner said. “Unfortunately, they cost around $1,000 each. With the help of a few people at Sylvantide, we were able to create this for under $200 – that makes me happy.

Bennett is a big proponent of travel on two wheels.

“Bikes are almost perfect machines: they’re fun, they’re good for our bodies, they’re extremely affordable and, most importantly, they’re great for the environment,” he said. “Hopefully (and with work) we will see our streets become safer and we will see more and more people on bikes.

These “must be an important part of any future we create. They’re not practical all the time for everyone, but any time someone chooses to take their bike to work, the store, or for a leisurely ride instead of their car, it’s a step in the right direction. direction,” Bennett said.

Encouraging more people to choose another means of transport will require an overhaul of state infrastructure, he said. “Courtesy stations are one of them. Another important thing that some communities take seriously and some don’t is to make the road safe — for pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

In the future, the bookseller hopes to create a cycling collective to teach cyclists how to do simple repairs and other useful skills. This would include a nominal membership fee, such as $10, “to keep the lights on and the bills paid,” he explained.