The idea is bloody genius. Public bike workstations aren’t completely uncommon, but stations that are attended by a vending machine filled with bike parts, tubes, patch kits, energy bars, and drinks? There’s only one.
The Bike Fixtation is located at the Uptown Transit Station in Minneapolis, a major hub for transport and local to a rails to trails greenway that runs through the heart of the city. It’s the brainchild of Chad DeBaker and a friend, who developed the idea more than a year ago and installed and launched it barely a month ago.
“There’s a lot of people that have the need for emergency bike repairs but nobody’s filling that niche,” DeBaker said.
Since it opened, the vending machine has had hundreds of sales. “We’ve coupled bike parts with snacks and drinks and stuff like that. A big portion of our inventory is dedicated to tubes. There’s a lot of different sizes out there…but we also have patch kits, some lights, sunscreen, and then we have a multitool. We’re always playing around with inventory, but we’re seeing sales of pretty much everything.”
DeBaker has been flooded with calls from all over the country since word of Bike Fixtation got out, and it makes sense, not just for municipalities but schools and parks, especially when you learn the price: about $7,700. In a high traffic area, it’ll pay for itself in a year.