A new roadside assistance program for bicyclists traveling on the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail is now available.

AAA Kansas teamed with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to introduce a bike service points program which provides bike repair stations and AAA bicycle service assistance for cyclists who experience equipment breakdowns or other problems during rides, according to a AAA Kansas press release.

There will be nine bike service points along the trail, which spans 51 miles between Ottawa and Iola, the release said. The first bike service point has opened at the entrance of Kaw River State Park in Topeka.

All bike service point locations will include signs which provide a toll-free phone number and location identifier, the release said. Cyclists needing assistance may call the phone number — which goes to AAA Roadside Assistance dispatch — and provide the location identifier. Using the predetermined GPS location of the service point, the dispatcher will then send a AAA roadside service technician, who can transport the broken-down bicycle and cyclist back home or to a bike repair shop, the release said. All of the bike service points will be accessible through normally traveled roads or streets, allowing AAA service trucks to easily reach them, the release said.

In Ottawa, a service point is being established at the Prairie Spirit trailhead, 1775 S. Princeton Circle Drive. Other bike service points along are at the Old Depot Museum, rest areas in Princeton and Richmond, Garnett Depot, rest areas in Welda, Colony and Carlyle, and at Cofachique Park in Iola, the release said.

“AAA Kansas is excited to partner with KDWPT to introduce this important service to benefit cyclists in Kansas,” Jennifer Haugh, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Kansas, said. “Our first bike service point in Topeka includes a permanently installed bike work station with tools, a rack for hanging a bike while working on it, and an air pump to inflate bike tires. The new Kansas bike service points will give bicyclists in our state peace of mind that if they have mechanical issues or breakdowns, repair resources will be available or AAA roadside assistance will be just a call away.”

Linda Craghead, assistant secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, said the service is a benefit for those using the trails and parks.

“We are excited to have this asset available to riders, giving them reassurance that help is available on the trails if they have a mechanical issue,” Craghead said. “We hope this is another reason riders will be encouraged to get on their bikes and enjoy our many trails and the benefits they provide.”