There is an endless supply of excuses that can be made to avoid jumping on that dusty bicycle and into your car instead: It’s too cold outside. It’s too hot today. It’s snowing. I don’t want to get sweaty on the way to work. I’m wearing heels and don’t want to bring a change of shoes. I have too many things to carry today.
Although the citizens of the Netherlands would not constitute any of these as a viable “excuse” to choose another mode of transportation, us North Americans just aren’t quite there yet with the bicycle culture. Separated lanes, signs and rules to protect bicyclists are isolated luxuries, with the reality of dangerous urban traffic patterns of bicycles alongside buses are common sights. What happens if I get a flat tire and there isn’t a nearby repair shop open when I need it? Soon that excuse (along with a few others) will be wiped out of existence if Brooklyn-based Bikestock has anything to do with it.
Launched towards the end of 2013, the company’s growing network of vending machines and tool kits are popping up around New York City to increase access to repair materials around the clock. Kiosks dispense locks, tubes, patch kits, ponchos, food and drinks as well as seasonal products like reusable hand warmers. Born out of necessity, this grassroots network will help broken down bicyclists self service their ride and get back on the road quickly at any time of day or night. What happens if you just get a flat tire? A free air pump will put you back in business. Hit a big rainstorm? Grab a poncho. Running low on fuel? Grab a snack and power up. Lost your lock? Replace it.
A second, more flexible option for local businesses to join the initiative is to keep a toolkit on their premises, making it available beyond regular daytime hours at venues like bars and delis for emergency late night pit stops.
One less obstacle for the urban biker will grow the foundation for a bicycle culture. If you want to see more locations pop up near you, support the cause and get cycling! Check out their current locations here.
Images & Video courtesy of Bikestock
Lauren Grieco is an Amsterdam-based architectural journalist that will leave no stone unturned during her quest to discover groundbreaking ideas that are making a difference via the power of design.