Minneapolis is the City of Bikes. There are more bikes here per capita than any other US city, I’m told. Many Japanese cities have more bikes per capita and even less room, so the whole bike parking issue in Japan is pretty severe. And, as usual, Japanese culture allows for more flexibility in technological solutions than American culture does (a limitation that I don’t think Americans realize they are living with).

Anyway, here’s how to deal with bikes in an urban setting with less and less available bike parking space and more and more people on the bikes:


  1. #1 becca
    November 8, 2009

    Is that a bicycle vending machine or some version of Willy Wonkas great glass elevator???

  2. #2 Jadehawk, OM
    November 8, 2009

    clever, though it kills the main advantages of biking, i.e. NOT having to pay for parking, and being able to get to the front door of wherever it is you’re going instead of having to do loops to and from the parking garage.

    and for the technologically backward (and cheapskate) American cities, something like this would be good enough 🙂

  3. #3 Caravelle
    November 8, 2009

    They have the same thing for cars, I think.

    The thing is though, Japan has a MASSIVE amount of ordinary bicycle parking spaces, far more than I’ve ever seen in France and I assume more than in Minneapolis. So there’s quite a margin to go before you have to resort to high-tech solutions.

  4. #4 SLC
    November 8, 2009

    Actually, I suspect that Austin, Texas has more bicycles per capita, based on my personal experience there. When I visisted the Un. of Texas campus in the early 1980s, there was not a tree, sign post, or bike rack, that did not have a bike chained to it. There literally thousands of them.

  5. #5 MPL
    November 9, 2009

    Most places in the US, a robotic bike parking system wouldn’t make economic sense, considering the much lower cost of labor and land to allocate here than in Tokyo.

    But—a “bike check” (either automated like this, or human-run like a coat check) could work well in skyscrapers that house apartments or offices, and could encourage people to use their bikes more. There’s no reason it couldn’t be located near an entrance, so you could get in and out of the place with ease.

  6. #6 faithlessgod
    November 9, 2009

    or get a folding bike and take it into your office/cafe/bar…

  7. #7 Who Cares
    November 9, 2009

    Nothing new. Not only been in service there for a years but some dutch company is also selling it’s own version (with less automation, can’t beat the Japanese in that :).

  8. #8 John
    November 10, 2009

    The storage area doesn’t look very space-efficient. I would think something laid out laterally would be more economical than the circular structure they chose. 35s may not seem like a very long time, but if you have a large group of people whose shift ends at the same time, that would make for a VERY long line waiting for your bicycle. This seems wasteful to me. Just install a large amount of bike racks, with letter-number designations(e.g. K15) similar to a large parking lot so you remember where you put your bike. Less maintenance/investment, and similar space required.

  9. #9 davem
    November 10, 2009

    All comments are missing the obvious, which didn’t get mentioned in the video either – your bike doesn’t get stolen.