NEW YORK, NY (BRAIN) — Cyclists in Brooklyn who get stuck with a flat tire after regular bike shop hours may not have to hail a cab or phone a friend, thanks to two new Express Biker self-service bike part vending machines. Riders can purchase tubes, CO2, tire levers, patch kits and other items with their credit card at any time day or night.
Cyclist and entrepreneur Shimon Kivman has set up two Express Biker vending machines over the past month at gas stations in Williamsburg and the Prospect Park/Crown Heights areas of the borough. While working at CH Cycles in Brooklyn, Kivman noticed there was an ongoing problem of cyclists getting stuck without vital repair items, sparking the idea to create a 24-hour bike shop.
“We heard stories all the time of cyclists having to call a taxi, take the train, or walk miles to their nearest bike shop because of a flat tire or other minor mechanical issue,” said Kivman. “Vending machines are a way to provide a service to help cyclists 24 hours per day, seven days a week.”
Kivman retrofitted a standard vending machine to dispense various bike repair parts. The machines are stocked with basic maintenance items a cyclist might need in a pinch, and other conveniences like lights, bells and even dry bags for iPhone users who get caught in the rain. Energy gels and other nutrition products are also available to stave off mid-ride bonking, something Kivman hopes will attract runners and other people exercising outdoors. The contents of the vending machines can be customized based on the needs of the market where they are located.
The machines are placed in areas with heavy bike commuter traffic and cycling-friendly routes, and the company has plans to expand in New York City and into other states. “Businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, parks and other places near popular bike routes who want to become more bike-friendly can become an Express Biker location,” said Kivman.
Kivman is utilizing Facebook and the company’s website to promote Express Biker, as well as hanging fliers visible to cyclists in the vicinity of the vending machines.