It’s the wave–or maybe the cycle– of the future. Although these ‘bike trees’ have been in use for almost two years now in Japan, they are just beginning to gain popularity in the US. The idea is similar to a coat check for bikes. After signing up for a spot at one of the machines (in Japan it costs ¥ 1,800, or $20 USD), your bike is outfitted with an electronic tag used to easily identify it.
To store the bike, the user simply needs to roll it up to the machine, and the swipe of a card has it back to the owner in a matter of seconds. You can see a video demonstration of the system here. The storage machines can be placedabove or below ground, they save space and offer a highly secure area for bicyclists to store their modes of transportation.
JFE Engineering Corporation is the group that came up with the idea of and created the bicycle storage system. The company has three sites in Tokyo that can hold 756 bikes, 1,476 bikes and 6,480 bikes respectively, with other sites scattered across Japan. You can see a full list of their facilities here.
There are currently no plans to install such systems in the United States and there are still a number of factors to contemplate when considering putting them in place. For example, will security and tidiness be equal in value to the $20 monthly fee? Also, will there be enough users to be worth the while of the company? All in all, it is a very innovative plan and one that can sure improve the lives and living space of many fit urbanites.
X JC Swift for SPROUTINGEDGE.COM