With cycling gaining ground as a regular mode of transportation, flat tires and broken chains are on the up, too. Which creates an opportunity for bike-loving entrepreneurs: mobile bike repair shops.
In the Netherlands, for example, we've spotted companies like Fix Fiets and Bikemobiel, both of which do house calls in vans or trucks outfitted as mobile workshops. Service is even more mobile (and emission-free) in Cologne and Berlin, where stranded cyclists can call a 'Radambulanz'—a cycling mechanic with a small trailer containing tools and spare parts for fixing flat tires and performing other common repairs.
While some mobile repair services tack on a small trip charge for coming to a customer's home or workplace, rates are generally comparable to those charged by brick and mortar bike shops. And although they've been popping up in Europe over the past few years, mobile services are far from commonplace. Time to launch a well-branded Geek Squad of bike fixers? (Related: Vending machines for bicycle parts — In the US, the AAA will be offering roadside assistance for cyclists in Oregon and Idaho.)