Posts Tagged ‘Chad DeBaker’
Thursday, July 21st, 2011
If you’re a cyclist in south Minneapolis, you’ve probably noticed (or heard about) a new bike “vending machine” in the south Minneapolis Uptown Transit Center. It’s called a Bike Fixtation kiosk and it was developed by Chad DeBaker and Alex Anderson.
And it could be a huge boon to many cyclists across Minneapolis and St. Paul considering its self-service approach–and strategy for locations (along bike commuter paths).
So, we thought we’d try to grab a few minutes with Chad and see what’s behind the Bike Fixtation–and what’s coming in the months ahead.
You launched the first Bike Fixtation kiosk in the Uptown Transit Station in June—brilliant idea. For those that haven’t heard about it yet, can you provide the basics of what Bike Fixtation is and how cyclists in Minneapolis may use it?
Thanks! Bike Fixtation is a self-service bicycle kiosk. We offer extended-hours support to cyclists with a self-service repair stand with tethered tools, an air compressor for filling tires, and a vending machine stocked with repair parts, food and drinks. The machine accepts cash and credit cards.
How did the idea for Bike Fixtation come about initially?
The idea has been rolling around for a few years, but the need really arose when we were at my bachelor party in summer 2009, which was a bar crawl on bikes. It was a Saturday night around 7 p.m. Someone got a flat but no one had a patch kit or a tube in that size, and no bike shops were open at that time of night. We started thinking about how automobiles have lots of infrastructure and service stations available, but similar accommodations are not available for cyclists. Generally we are averse to having people pay for air, so we figured the kiosk could have an inflator that’s free for use. We also wanted to give people the option to do small repairs themselves and install the parts they buy from us, so we designed our own work stand which includes tethered tools.
We intend to change products throughout the year. In winter we will exchange sunscreen for heat packs, for example. Tubes and lights will always be stocked though. We are also always looking for suggestions on products people would like to see.
You have the Uptown Transit location and a kiosk planned for the Wedge in the Whittier neighborhood. Any plans to expand beyond that across Minneapolis/St. Paul? Any plans to expand to other transit stations around the city (i.e., at 46th St. or Lake St.)?
We have several other prospective locations in the metro we are actively working on. Our main goal is to be along key commuting routes. There are also many other variables we consider when selecting a site so it can take a while to implement.
What’s the most common product sold in the Uptown kiosk so far? And, what has been the initial feedback from cyclists who have used the Uptown kiosk so far?
The most popular products have been tubes. On hot days, we also sell a lot of drinks. Cyclists have been really happy with Bike Fixtation. It’s not uncommon for us to get an email saying “thanks for saving me from walking miles after a flat.” That makes it all worth it.
You state clearly on your site that Bike Fixtation is not a franchise, but you offer the kiosk to anyone who has the interest and means to purchase one—even in countries across the world. That begs the question: What’s your larger mission with Bike Fixtation?
Our ultimate mission with Bike Fixtation is to break down the barriers to cycling and make it more accessible to everyone. We wanted to offer the equipment we developed to people looking to duplicate our kiosk (without the Bike Fixtation name) in locations we can’t personally oversee currently. We want to increase the number of installations in the Minneapolis area before we decide to franchise.
You don’t see too much information about you and Alex (co-founders) on the Bike Fixtation site. Was that intentional? Given that, what is one thing people should know about you two that they probably don’t know?
Alex is a year-round bicycle commuter who loves building nerdy (and awesome) bikes. I’m a mechanical engineer and always trying to convince Alex that he needs to get back on a mountain bike.
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
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