I discovered the following Group in Facebook and thought the idea was compelling. I have some reservations about the concept, however and posted a reply to the discussion, but the group doesn't seem to generate a lot of activity and no-one has responded yet. I've added a copy of my response in the discussion group that addresses my questions.
Anyone know anything about these?
I've just reviewed how the Bike Tree works and the idea is intriguing, but it looks elaborate and expensive to use and install.
I'd need to see the Bike Tree in action if only to address my initial concerns of security for the bikes locked within it. How are the bikes suspended and are there fail-safe mechanisms to prevent them from falling? What if the technology fails and the bike cannot be retreived? Is there some sort of pass-code or card-access that ensures the bike owner is the only one who can retreive his/her bike? What about liability if the bike is stolen, damaged or destroyed? Can the Tree accomodate unusual, non-standard bikes like my Bike E semi-recumbent, my Giant Stiletto chopper (7 ft), my cruiser-trike or my Firebike stretch cruiser (8 ft.)?
I have invested more than $500.00 in eight locks and always use a minimum of two locks, most often a New York 3ft chain lock and a thick cable lock. Combined with parking whatever bike I'm riding that day in high-visibility, well-lit areas, I've not had a bike stolen in years. Of course, the bikes I ride are so unusual, the components are not of interest and, therefore, not targeted by thieves and the thief or rider is so conspicuous and obvious to anyone looking for the bike, thieves would not easily blend into the street, as they prefer to do. I know because I don't. Everyone always stops, points, stares and hollers something about whatever bike I'm on.
As it stands now, if I lock to a ring-post or other secure structure, my bike is easily and quickly retreivable. And, I'm the only one responsible if my bike is stolen or damaged. I'm not sure I'd have the same convenience with a Bike Tree.
While I am in support of anything that promotes security and safety for Toronto cyclists, perhaps the McDonald's Cycle Centre concept from Chicago is a better idea for high-volume areas like City Hall, Union Station, King & Bay and UofT. The Cycle Centre features secure indoor parking, maintenance by qualified mechanics if needed while you're at work (for an additional fee), clean showers and lockers as well as a juice and coffee bar. They only charge $20.00 a month. They also have bike tours, bike rentals and bike sharing.
If anyone can answer my questions about the Tree, I'd appreciate learning more.
Feel free to join my groups: Toronto Cyclists and Toronto Car-Free Families.