W&OD Vending machines
The squirrel in my brain is running overtime this morning, and the idea has popped into my head again of bike supply vending machines on the W&OD out west... has anyone here looked into it? Who would I contact? I'm guessing permits and power would be my two biggest hurdles...
There are bike shops all along the WOD.
* Velocity in Del Ray
* Phoenix Bikes at mile 1
* Fresh Bikes in Ballston
* Bikenetic and Contes in Falls Church
* Spokes and Bikes Vienna in Vienna
* Performance and the Bike Lane in Reston
* Green Lizard in Herndon
* Bike outfitters and the triathalon shop in Leesburg
* Trail End Cycling, Velo Classic, Bikes and Coffee in Purceville
* The trail is constantly patrolled by Trail Patrol volunteers who have limited supplies and can help with small repairs. They wear yellow vests with triangle logos on them
And a bunch others that I havent mentioned. But there is basically a bike shop almost within walking distance anywhere along the WOD (one of the reasons the WOD is a great sort of safety route).
Someone I road with on this forum fell off her fattie last week - and within moments there was a skilled mechanic on us who volunteered to help unjam the derailer.
So what is the market failure that requires vending machines to louse up the place? Let's support our LBSs.
As a case study, go to the vending machine in Crystal City and see how its stocked and doing. Simple answer, it isnt.
I've lost count of the number of tubes I've given away over the years on the CCT.
I was thinking more specifically right around where the trail crosses Route 28, where there isn't anything within "walking distance".. I'm not interested in near the beltway, that's why I said "out west"...
Green Lizard to Bicycle Outfitters is 14 miles (Spokes is slightly closer, but waaaay off the trail). Bicycle Outfitters to Trails End is 11 miles...so there definitely are some places where you can get stuck. I also have had plenty of rides out that way where I've not seen any Trail Patrol people, and maybe they have tubes, but I can't imagine they're carrying a wide array of spare parts. I think vending machines are a great solution on paper, but I'm skeptical that they'd go long without getting beaten up or looted or that they'd stay stocked and functional. But if NVRPA put their mind to it, I think they could make it work.
Originally Posted by rcannon100
Also, I wouldn't say having vending machines and "support our LBSs" are exclusive ideas...an LBS could easily provide stock for a vending machine, particularly if NVRPA was willing to help maintain it.
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Yeah I am just afraid that, given its the NVRPA, a government function, it would go to a government contract and not to LBS. That's what tends to happen. Crystal City was a partnership, I believe, between BA and Phoenix. To be in NVRPA it might need to be a non profit type arrangement. But then its a non profit competing with commercial establishments.
Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC
Given that NVRPA is an agency of limited resources, I doubt we can assume they will be willing to maintain these things.
The vending machines I have seen carry tubes, power bars, and maybe like lights. So you are not getting much more than what trail patrol would carry. Its not a repair solution. Trail patrol comes hopefully with some basic repair skills.
If there needs to be a repair solution, maybe thats talking to NVPRA about installing repair stations like BA has been doing.
I know people like me and ViceGrip and others always carry small tools. More than trail patrol, we stop and help people all the time.
Obviously a good solution would be for more of us to join the WOD trail patrol. Vicegrip does say that WOD gets $$$ for each mile logged. (last weeks conversation with Vicegrip and this conversation did just prompt me to submit an application)
Next solution is to you yourself buy micro tools and supplies, for yourself, and to help others out on the trail.
STERLING: I actually have a buddy with a small business at 28 and WOD. Would you want to draw up a proposal? Just off the WOD at Church Rd he runs a goalie training shop in a small strip mall. In other words, he is already a sports shop. He would have to be convinced its worth his while.... but telling a business owner that there is demand, and that there is no supply in that market.... and that he could have a sign on the WOD pointing to his shop (dont know how that works but its pretty common).... maybe. Maybe get an existing LBS to partner with him in order to solve inventory. I am glad to propose it to him. http://www.goalieacademy.com/
Last edited by rcannon100; 02-15-2017 at 12:38 PM.
Smiths Switch Station stop (MM 25.8) has an empty vending machine plaza. Has covered space, outlets and just so happens to be right next to the W&OD Regional Park Headquarters. Has been empty for as long as I have been riding that far out. There is an electric air station so I know there is power to the stop at least.
Busted....As rcannon mentioned I joined the Trail Patrol a while back. I had to have the cool flashing blue light for my bike helmet, silver handle bar bell, a shiny star for my jersey and flip book with "Excess of 6 feet long dog leash" tickets. They let me carry a bullet but I have to keep it in my jersey pocket.
All kidding aside the trail patrol is not a bunch of old farts on bikes looking to nag people on the rules. Well, based on myself and many other patrol members I have met the "old farts on bikes" part is sort of true but the rest is not. Help when needed, information when asked for, eyes and ears on trail conditions for the park service and always being a positive example on the trail is about it. Think our man Dirt in a yellow shirt. I don't have the details or overall specifics but I think the trail patrol benefits from miles logged but there is some small value. The real value is being a source of information and lending a hand now and then on the most used MUP in the US. My orientation and training was focused on information and help more than anything. The W&OD trail patrol has been going for a good while and the model for other trail systems starting up their own patrols.
The difference between a bike ride and a trail patrol is I carry some extra repair stuff, information handouts in the repair kit I ride with and stopped sneaking up on and going "Ahh, I almost did not see you!" behind the ninja joggers. (I do miss that part)
Last edited by Vicegrip; 02-15-2017 at 12:45 PM.
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How are any of these places going to help me at 7am on a Sunday?
Originally Posted by rcannon100
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Originally Posted by MattAune
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SSS twice had vending machines with energy drinks, ice cream and I think candy -- no bike parts. Both times they were vandalized. I suspect that this would be the case again if they were reinstalled.
Originally Posted by Vicegrip