MINNEAPOLIS -- Two young entrepreneurs in Minneapolis have come up with a new vending program inspired by the increasingly popular biking trend. Chad DeBaker and Alex Anderson have launched the Bike Fixtation, which pairs a modified glassfront vender with a handy standalone bike repair rack.
"We're using the term 'kiosk' because we have more to offer than just the vending machine," said DeBaker. "It's a new machine that we modify. We enhance the security features and adapt it to vend bicycle products, such as tubes, repair kits, lights, tools, patch kits for the tubes, and refreshments like energy bars and energy drinks, and amenities like water bottles, and sunscreen."
DeBaker reports that the vender, which measures 72" high x 39" wide x 35" deep, holds up to 38 SKUs and takes credit and debit cards, bills and coins, and permits remote auditing over a cellular data network. The vender also features a dual locking system and triple-pane glass with a polycarbonate outer layer. Currently available in a black or red vinyl wrap, the unit is ruggedized for outdoor placement. The company is also offering refrigeration and heating options.
The other component of the kiosk is a separate bicycle service stand that allows patrons to perform repairs at the site. "The repair stand is free to use. And it's universal, so it works with all bikes," DeBaker told VT. "It not only attracts customers to the kiosk, but allows them to install the parts they've purchased. The repair stand provides an assortment of tools, including tire levers, wrenches and Allen hex keys, all tethered to the stand with rugged aircraft cable.
The company is also offering an air compressor to refill tires that can either mount to the vender itself or to a nearby wall.
At present, DeBaker and Anderson have launched a pilot program with a few Bike Fixtations along a major bicycling corridor in Minneapolis and a transit station. However, they see potential for expansion to college campuses, bike trails, rest stops and any public location that attracts substantial bicycle ridership.
"The statistics we've seen have shown growth in ridership in the last 10 years," DeBaker said. "There's interest in it from the standpoint that it's a sustainable form of transportation. And the bicycling infrastructure in the U.S. is growing, making it a more acceptable option."