Part of the foundation of any great product is the industrial design that goes into it. The auto industry lives and dies by their industiral design teams. Here at the salt mine we've got one of the best teams in the industry and they're an aggressive group. They're typically designing the latest and greatest of the cycling world but recently, several members have taken a break from designing brakes and put some of their talent into something that has nothing to do with the bike. Rather, it has everything to do with what's on the bike.
Along Madison's lakefront bikepath sits Machinery Row Bicycles, an iconic shop in the heart of downtown. Hundreds (if not thousands) of cyclists pass the shop everyday while riding the path and they pass by at all hours of the night. And while a bike shop has to close at some time, a cyclist in need knows no time. Is there ever a convenient time for a flat tire? Madison cyclists now have a 24 hour shop in the form of The Trek Stop.
The Trek Stop is a tricked out vending machine complete with bike maps, instructional videos, a stand for maintenance, air, as well as a full array of bike gear (tubes, patch kits, pumps, etc.) and even beverages. The idea is that motorists have a wealth of tools at their disposal when it comes to driving their car. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I doubt AAA is going to start fielding calls for blown hubs and chain hop.
I had to see this innovation for myself as I had been made aware of the project upon its inception. It's been getting mad blog love and some legit press in some local rags and I was shamed by somebody who felt that it was embarrasing that the in-house blogger got scooped by the State Journal. Been a little busy lately, my bad. So last night, the future Mrs. and I hit the El Dorado for some agave margs and strolled on over to explore this new green beacon on the M-Town landscape.
The first thing I noticed was a classified ad on the area where people can post what they need to with a picture of a guy bent over the handlebars of a tandem bike. Here's the brilliant ad copy:
Genius. Not sure if I'd ever take somebody up on that offer but some of the phone number tabs were removed so he must have a few takers. My opinion on tandems is that it takes a level of patience that I'm not sure I'll ever achieve to ride one successfully. The Trek Stop is everything that a cyclist in need could ever want. They've got a work stand, instructional videos for simple fixes, a board that has nothing but local bike maps, free air, and even coffee and beverages. The fiancee was bummed that there were no Starbucks iced coffee offerings but impressed that you could get a CO2 pump and cartridge at 2 am if you needed it. While the Trek Stop is certainly not designed, or intended to, replace a shop, it does a great job of offering the essentials in a fast way and gives fledgling bike-commuter infrastructure a very interesting and low-cost option.