Padlocked By The Earth: Cycle Sheds Go Underground

1TokyoBike

(Images via: JFE Engineering)

Cycling is a wonderfully practical, dazzlingly green answer to our urban transport problems (not to mention a fun, free way to keep us trim) – but a downside is parking. Maybe a parked bike doesn’t take up a lot of room, but in most cities you find every fence and every railing festooned with them. But what if bikes were parked under the street?

2TokyoBike

(Images via: Guardian Environment)

The invention of JFE Engineering in Tokyo, this automated bike locker system is called the Cycle Tree. For around $20 a month, cycle-commuters can have their vehicles electronically tagged. When they are ready to drop their bikes off, they swipe their details through the machine and place the bike in front of the lift doors, and in about 30 seconds, the the bike is drawn inside…

3TokyoBike

(Images via: Guardian Environment)

…and taken below street level and fitted into a series of circular racks (like the magazines of an old-style slide projector). When the customer returns and swipes in, the bike is found, lifted and fed back out the doors. Zero chance of vandalism, no unsightly scatters of bicycles at street level…and cycle sheds just became seriously cool. This system is only operating in Japan at the moment – but this undoubtedly a world-class idea.

Watch it at work here.

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