Monday, June 3, 2013

New Vending Machines for Cyclists

Express Biker bike parts vending machine
A company called Express Biker has created a self-serve vending machine that sells bike parts. The goal is to help cyclists who might be riding late at night or far from bike shops, where getting a flat tire (for example) would be very inconvenient. The vending machines will sell things like tubes, lights, co2, patch kits, various tools and parts.

There are already two machines in function in Brooklyn: One on the border of South Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant at the Emporium Gas Station on Flushing Avenue, and one at the Mobil Gas Station at 415 Empire Blvd. a few blocks away from Prospect Park. They want to partner with outdoor locations near major bike routes throughout NYC that are open for 24 hours, such as gas stations, parks, etc.

It reminds me a bit of this free-to-use bike repair station, though this one only has tools and an air pump (these should be everywhere, in my opinion):

Boston is also getting vending machines, but for bike helmets. As programs for renting bikes expand across the nation, so too do programs and infrastructure that support cyclists -- and Helmethub's aim is to keep cyclists safe, and without an excuse for riding helmet-less.

helmethub imageHelmethub is launching a solar-powered vending machine in Boston in July. The vending machines, each holding 36 helmets, will be located next to Hubway locations, the city's bike-sharing program. Cyclists will be able to rent helmets for about $2.00 at the same time they pick up their rented bike. The machines can even dispense three different sizes of helmet to make sure it fits the user correctly.

When helmets are dropped off by users after use, they're picked up by the team and sent to Helmethub headquarters to be inspected and cleaned before being placed back in the vending machines. The machines provide real-time info to the team so they know when each machine needs to be restocked, or used helmets need to be picked up.

I love seeing this initiative to keep cyclists safe, especially those who are renting bikes and so are less likely to own their own helmet. We'll see how Helmethub's new program works throughout the summer and if it is successful, perhaps other cities will adopt the system to go with their bike-share systems as well.


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