Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Host Profile: The Pink Pitstop, Bankside

Through Cyclehoop Bike Aid heard that Better Bankside have introduced London’s first free cycle repair workstation. We have written to them asking for some background info to complete this profile.

"The Pink Pit Stop" is a bike stand that fits any bike with a track pump, tools including tyre levers and an adjustable wrench.

The tools are tethered by aircraft cables. We don't know where you can obtain a puncture repair kit nearby, we hope a local shop stocks them but what if the stranded cyclist didn't have any money with them? This difficulty is what the Bike Aid concept overcomes.

While providing two out of three essentials (spanner, patch and pump) ain't bad, without access to a small patch and some glue, that cost pennies, a puncture becomes a major hassle.

Our critique of these stands is also they may become a 'tickbox' of cycle infrastructure provision without a thought to the social aspects of cycling and its potential to build communities. If the stand is not located in an amenable place, it won't be used by people for routine maintenance, especially if the tools are worn. Emergency use is statistically small so difficult to justify on cost, hence why we advocate the no-cost Bike Aid model. We wonder would cyclists put a burred wrench onto their exquisite soft chrome nuts? However, a cluster of these stands in a park near a cafe could perhaps become a social space; a meet-up place for social cycling. But rather than be provided blind, we think they should be provided in response to demand, say if a local people lobby for one to be placed in their community so giving the providers some confidence it will be used and that those users will take 'ownership' of it. 

The Pink Pitstop is located at the Better Bankside Community Space, 18 Great Guildford Street, SE1

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