Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 27th, 2013 at 11:08 am
lockers for bike riding customers.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
One of the advantages cars have over (most) bicycles is a secure, dry, roomy place to easily stash stuff. Take a look at the inside of most people's cars and you'll see all sorts of essential and random things in the center console, the glove box, and scattered on the seats and floor. Bikes on the other hand, are usually stripped clean when parked. This is for a variety of reasons including: the threat of thieves who will take anything that's not bolted down; the threat of rain getting your stuff wet, and so on. For people who bike, there simply aren't many panniers or similar products readily available that allow you to secure your stuff to your vehicle while keeping it protected from the elements (and yes, I have seen the Buca Boot on Kickstarter).
The thoughts above are why I've been thinking for the past few years that shops, cafes and markets might want to consider providing storage areas for cycling customers. I've pitched the idea of gear storage lockers to a few businesses and I'm thrilled that someone finally took me up on it.
The just-opened New Seasons Market on North Williams Avenue has 10 such lockers. If you haven't noticed them yet it's because they're near the rear entrance (on NE Fremont). Here's how they look:
Now, instead of schlepping around panniers and all the other stuff you didn't want to leave on your bike (wet rain coat, helmet, removable lights, and so on), you can just pop them in the locker, set the security code, and do your shopping.
The few times I've stopped in to the market recently, I've noticed more than half of the lockers in use. I still haven't talked to New Seasons staff about any feedback they've received, so I'm curious how customers are using them and whether or not they find them useful.
If you've used the biking customer lockers at New Seasons on Williams, or if you have feedback on the idea in general, we'd love to hear it. If it turns out to be a worthy idea, perhaps other businesses will give it a try. (And for what it's worth, I also think PBOT might want to consider installing gear storage lockers near on-street bike corrals for similar reasons.)
And one last thing, I'll just add that it's been great working with New Seasons on bike-related stuff because — as they've demonstrated in the past — they're open and willing to try new things and they're committed to making their store as bike-friendly as possible.