Innovation That Matters

Vending machines for bicycle parts


Unless they happen to be near a bicycle shop during business hours, bicyclists who break down are typically out of luck if they don’t already have the parts they need to make a repair. Aiming to make bike parts more accessible, two different vending machines we’ve spotted are always on hand with critical parts. Most recently, bike manufacturer Trek set up a prototype Trek Stop Cycling Convenience Center at the end of June, just off the bike path in Madison, Wisconsin. Located outside (and operated by) bike shop Machinery Row, the Trek Stop is a 24/7/365 convenience center for cyclists that provides access to cycling products, information and a safe place to work on a bike. The full-service vending machine is stocked with bicycle products such as spare tubes, patches, tire levers, CO2 cartridges and more, along with food and cold drinks; it also features an information center with maps, a message board and advertising space for local announcements. A covered maintenance area, meanwhile, offers a work stand, free air and even how-to videos–available at the push of a button–for those trickier repairs. The idea for Trek Stop was born a few years ago when a crew of industrial designers at Trek led by Mike Hammond began thinking of ways to make bicycle commuting more viable. “Motorists have it easy,” says Hammond. “Gas stations, convenience stores, auto parts stores, tow trucks–you name it. The support network for cars far outclasses cyclists. The Trek Stop aims to change that by breaking down some of the ‘worries’ attached to cycling.” While the Trek Stop is currently just in prototype form and slated to run for only another month or so, Seattle-based Aaron’s Bicycle Repair has actually had a similar vending machine in place since 2005. With items like inner tubes, flat repair items, energy bars and gel, the machine is located just outside Aaron’s for after-hours service. As environmental concerns and skyrocketing gas costs lead to increasing numbers of bicyclists around the globe, it’s not hard to imagine vending machines like these popping up all over–particularly in spots where there aren’t bike shops nearby. Time to get together with a bike shop or manufacturer and bring some machines to the trails near you? (Related: Hybrid taxis rescue cyclists.) Spotted by: Pat Bice



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