Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Don't hold your breath to see one of these in the U.S.
U.S. bicycle commuters are a modest bunch, advocating for measly things like protected lanes, secure bike racks, and maybe a bike-share system or two. It's not much to ask, really.
If the "bike lobby" of Dorothy Rabinowitz's imagination was truly all-powerful, you would expect to see more of Eco Cycle's Anti-Seismic Underground Bicycle Parks. In a video released this week, Culture Japan brings our attention to these amazing robot bicycle valets, which drop your bike into an underground storage facility in a matter of seconds.
Once you check in, using an electronic device mounted on the fork of your front wheel, a clamp pulls your bike onto a "transporting tray, which spins down between two central columns and releases the bicycle into a storage rut. When you arrive to retrieve it, it's quickly up to ground level and out the door.
How long does it take to drop or retrieve your bike? Thirteen seconds. Oh, and the company has developed the same technology for cars, too.