IF YOU GO

What: Bloomfield Fire Department bike tune-up

When: 4-8 p.m., Thursday, May 2

Where: Bloomfield Fire Station, 911 N. First St.

Cost: Free

More info: Call the Fire Station at 505-632-6363.

BLOOMFIELD — Firefighters will be on alert as usual Thursday, but with a special focus on school-aged kids on two-wheels.

The Bloomfield Fire Department will hold a free bicycle tune-up from 4 to 8 p.m. to ensure kids are riding with tires properly inflated and bike chains oiled. May is national bike safety month.

Assistant Fire Chief John Mohler says he sometimes rides his bike to the station.

He will be on hand to teach bike safety, repair a flat and, if a pedaling visitor would like, offer a tour of the station or a chance to climb onto any of the station's fire trucks.

"It's a chance to get your bike repaired so you're good to go this spring," Mohler said. "But it's also an open house. Any kid or family is welcome to check out our stationhouse and make some friends."

Fire Chief George Duncan, a confessed mountain-biking addict, came up with the first-time event while shopping at Bloomfield Ace Hardware.

"I was talking with (store owner) Mike Gabehart about spring inspiring more riding and how kids in years past have come by the station looking to put air in their tires," Duncan said. "Before I knew it, the tune-up idea was rolling."

Gabehart will lend his support for the safety event by donating inner tubes, patch kits, WD-40 lubricant, chain oil and other parts and supplies from Ace Hardware.

The station will also give away bike helmets from Safe Kids New Mexico, while they last.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, more kids, ages 5 to 14, go to hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related crashes than for any other sport.

Duncan would like to see that statistic drop and the numbers of kids riding safely on bikes in peak condition rise.

"We're trying to encourage grade-school riders, but we'll help anybody," Duncan said. "Anything we can do to get more kids away from their Xboxes and out in the great outdoors having fun, the better."

James Fenton can be reached at jfenton@daily-times.com; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/fentondt.