Bike Fixtation isn’t limited to Minneapolis. The staff of three full-timers and two part-timers sells Fixtation’s products to companies all over the world. Anywhere you find cyclists—“from college campuses and apartment buildings to coffee shops, bike shops and breweries,” according to Lambert—is a perfect place for public bike equipment. Their biggest single partner is Cyclehoop, a cycling infrastructure firm based in London, and they’ve sold gear to companies as large as Microsoft, Starbucks, Target, and Mozilla, as well as a variety of startups and non-profits. Fixtation especially loves to work with breweries, says Lambert, and they’ve worked with Oskar Blues, Steam Whistle Brewery, and Brewery Vivant. Coming soon to Minneapolis’ Fulton taproom.
Once a client buys a vending machine from Bike Fixtation, they can stock it however they want. “It’s your baby to take care of,” says Lambert. “We of course provide all the customer service and technical support you need, but the merchandise and inventory management [are] up to you. We can provide a plan-o-gram of recommended items to sell from the machine and can sell the bicycle-related parts and accessories to the customer, or they can work with a local bike shop to manage the inventory.”
Bike Fixtation recommends basics like inner tubes, lights, patch kits, AA and AAA batteries, plus food and beverages—sometimes your lights die and sometimes you need an energy bar. “With nearly three years experience operating vending machines in Minneapolis,” says Lambert, “we’ve learned what cyclists need throughout the year and will rotate some products through depending on the weather. We don’t sell many hand warmers in the summertime.”
As Fixtation has grown, co-founder Chad DeBaker’s engineering skills have proven extremely useful. “Our ability to design everything in-house, have it manufactured and assembled locally gives us a huge competitive advantage in terms of [our] ability to innovate quickly, control costs, and maintain control over our supply chain,” says Lambert, The company’s expansion to five employees, with a production manager and sales and marketing manager, has freed DeBaker to create and innovate, which, says Lambert, “is the key to [Bike Fixtation’s] success.” It keeps them vibrant.
What’s next for Bike Fixtation? They intend to be the leaders and groundbreaking innovators of the public bike repair industry. “Communities all over the world are investing in bicycle infrastructure,” explains Lambert. “From Duluth, Minnesota, to Santiago, Chile, and Adelaide, Australia, to Aktau, Kazakhstan, people are using bikes for transportation more than ever. The idea of free access public bicycle repair equipment that is safe and easy to use, and that can withstand all types of weather and vandalism, is easy to comprehend and get behind.”
The more people bicycling, the more they’ll need tubes, lights, and easy fixes. The easier it is to find those, the more bikes will hit the road. It’s a positive feedback cycle that Bike Fixtation is helping to foster, one repair at a time.
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