We’ve all been there: a puncture or broken chain and you don’t have the necessary spare parts or tools to get you back on the move. Sometimes luck is on your side and you've broken down outside a bike shop, and it’s open. Other times, well you’re not so lucky, and it’s on those occasions you wish for a nearby Express Bar.
The Express Bar is just that, a 24-hour vending machine that instead of dispensing chocolate bars and fizzy drinks, can instead deliver cycling essentials such as inner tube patch kits, CO2 canisters, even lights, and lots more. You pay with your credit card or phone and out pops your get-you-home product.
You can see a video of it in action on this local news website.
The creators currently only have two locations in Brooklyn, US, with plans to open more along popular bike routes in New York City. And there lies the problem with the cyclist vending machine, the concept only works if there’s a large network of them.
It’s not going to help you much if you breakdown miles from the nearest vending machine. And they’d need to expand it to the UK, too, but would it work over here? Would it put bike shops out of business? Imagine one in every village and every street corner?
This isn't the first time we've seen something like this before though, the Bike Fixtation self-repair vending station which road.cc reported on in 2011 offers a very similar thing. That went a step further and offered a free air compressor and universal work stand including comprehensive tethered tools.
It's a nice idea, but there's nothing like being prepared and self-sufficient to avoid being stranded on the roadside with a flat an no means to fix it.
See more of it at www.expressbiker.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.