Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of New Tech City, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get New Tech City shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
Check Out Minneapolis' Bike Repair Vending Machines
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 01:58 PM
A small Minneapolis company is supporting cycling by making it easier to fix your bike while out on the road. Bike Fixtation has installed its first bike repair vending machine (pictured below) at Minneapolis' Uptown Transit Station.
The self-service vending machine will be accessible, just like the transit station, from 6am-midnight every day of the year, ensuring an off-hours place to pick up an inner tube, patch kit, or even a headlight.
This first location was chosen because it's along Minneapolis' Midtown Greenway, a 5.5 mile bike-only path built over an unused and reclaimed railway. It's part of a pro-bike initiative that helped earn the frigid northern city accolades for its ease of urban cycling, including the honor of the #1 bike city in America according to Bicycling magazine.
The inventors behind Bike Fixtation hope to expand beyond the Greenway. There's a second location in planning now, and they are promoting the sale of the customized vending machines to bike shops and other entrepreneurs who want to replicate the idea. They suggest a fixtation as a way to extend the hours of a shop, or brand a bike business in a hip new way.
Each vending machine comes with a bike repair stand and a self-contained compressed air tire inflator. The company can also supply other services like help choosing, sourcing and stocking the contents, as well as an extra advertising opportunity by putting the shop's name on the machine's side.
In addition to bike parts, the first vending machine open for business also offers snacks and sunscreen.