What do you do if you get a puncture on the way across town, you've no tools or spares and no idea where the nearest bike shop is? You need Bicycle Repair Man (or Woman) to the rescue as summoned by Kerbi, a new app that aims to bring together cyclists with mechanical problems and people who can fix them.
Kerbi's not slated to launch until March, but the idea is simple. Folks with mechanical skills can sign up to be repair providers and users who have a problem can then send out an alert for their nearest puncture fixing expert to come to the rescue.
Kerbi sees couriers as potential repair providers as they're out on the streets, highly and quickly mobile, and have to be good at fixing punctures to stay in business.
Here's a video to show how it works:
Kerbi explains it like this: "The stranded cyclist simply ‘hails’ a repair provider via the app which allows couriers and other repair providers in the area to respond directly to the call. The stranded cyclist may then choose a repair provider, based on proximity and price. Once the repair has been made secure payment is made via the app, using Stripe.
"For couriers and other repair providers, Kerbi offers an additional source of income for the cost of carrying a few extra inner tubes. Since providers are not obliged to respond to every call, repairs can be fitted in around any existing commitments."
Users will be able to provide feedback, rate their repair person and even put delivery work their way through the developers' sister app StreetStream which provides courier services.
The app will be initially available for iPhone and you can find out more at kerbi.uk
The Monty Python crew saw the need for an app like this way back in the 1970s, and even realised the biggest problem would be getting Bicycle Repair Man's attention.
"If only Bicycle Repair Man were here!"
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.