Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bike Vending Machines

Start with three competing forces - the Japanese desire for convenience; the lack of space in Tokyo; and the wish to get around on bicycles when having a car is too much work but you still need to take the train in to get to work or school. Naturally, one obvious effect will be the development of bicycle parking lots near the stations. But, that's not enough. I'd mentioned car vending machines before - parking silos that have an elevator for lifting your car up to a specific floor and then recovering it again later. But this is the first time I've seen this for bikes.

There are 3 separate elevators in this complex.

It's fully automated. Put your bike in the groove, take your belongings out of the basket, put your money (or use your electronic Suica card for an electronic cash payment) in the box, and leave. The vending machine does the rest. You are given a receipt card, and you insert that in the box later when you want to retrieve the bike.

Japan is cool this way. So, if you want to use the vending machine yourself, just hang around until someone forgets or drops their receipt card - viola, free bike!


jaydeejapan said...

I've seen one of these before. It was just outside Yamada Denki in Ofuna on the Yokohama side of the station.

TSOTE said...

You know what would be cool? Attaching a video camera to the handle bars, running the bike through the vending machine, and then bringing it back out a few minutes later.

Then put that on youtube.
Wonder what's going on inside the silo that they warn you to not leave valuables in the basket.