How to Make Bike Commuting More Popular

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bike treeYou’ve heard all the arguments about why you should ride your bike: It reduces auto traffic, shrinks your carbon footprint, decreases your transportation costs, and gives you killer calves. But there’s one niggling problem: theft. It seems no matter how many locks, cables, and snakes you use, at one point or another, you’re likely to return to your bike, to find one lone orphaned tire, the rest long gone.

Whether or not this has been your experience, it’s a perception that many people hold, and it’s a factor in holding back bike riding from being more widely used mode of transport. What to do? Enter the Bike Tree. These devices address several issues at once, but let me start with the primary: it stores your bikes high up in the air, for all the world to see, and thieves to be foiled, looking like, yes, a tree made of bikes.

How does it work? Simply. You use a smart card that identifies you, and a bike hook glides down. Place your front tire in there, and up the bike rolls until it’s securely stored above, with a dome over the top to keep it dry. What if you need an indoor location, and the ceiling is too short for such a device? They also have another one, that has a more elaborate locking system.

Who would use this? Individual commuters, bike sharing services and people who are already good about using trains rather then their car, but there’s the few miles between their house and the station.

Looking at the site, an additional use comes to mind: festivals. Bike Tree claims they can be assembled and moved in 3-6 hours, making them great temporary storage facilities. And, without a cluster of bikes on the ground, they take up less space, and the base could, for those inclined, serve as a place to sit. My one question is, they don’t show it full of bikes, what happens if the handlebars of adjacent bikes get ensnared?

That said, the site says it hasn’t been updated since 2004, and as of press time, I wasn’t able to find out if they are a functional company at this point. Why don’t you drop them a line and find out for yourself? And if they don’t, let this be an inspiration for other creative solutions to life in the modern world.

What other solutions like this do you see to positively affecting urban life? Please share.

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