Discover Japan’s Earthquake Proof Underground Bike Storage System: The Future is Now

Behold, the inge­nious under­ground bicy­cle stor­age of Japan! What a vision of futur­ist effi­cien­cy — the only thing miss­ing is Ray­mond Scott’s Pow­er­house (aka Bugs Bun­ny fac­to­ry music).

Japan­ese cul­tur­al com­men­ta­tor Dan­ny Choo strapped a cam­era to his seat to cap­ture a bike’s eye view of the robot­ic Eco Cycle Anti-Seis­mic Under­ground Bicy­cle Park. It takes an aver­age of 8 sec­onds for two-wheel­ers to make the jour­ney — human involve­ment stops at the street lev­el card read­er.

(One inter­net com­menter won­dered what hap­pens if the sys­tem malfunctions…and all I can say is I once spent what felt like an eter­ni­ty, trapped in Disney’s Haunt­ed Man­sion.)


As futur­is­tic visions go, it’s a finite one. The envi­ron­men­tal­ly-friend­ly design allows for fair­ly easy de-instal­la­tion, should pub­lic demand for safe, sub­ter­ranean bike park­ing wane.

It’s also earth­quake-proof, a fea­ture which gives rise to all sorts of dystopi­an Plan­et of the Apes-style fan­tasies (replace Apes with Bikes).

Cities from Lon­don and Paris to New York and Hangzhou have embraced bike­shar­ing schemes, but the Japan­ese mod­el allows cyclists to keep their own rides. Signs post­ed at street lev­el remind rid­ers to remove per­son­al effects like pets (!) before using the sys­tem.) Unlim­it­ed park­ing and retrieval comes in at under 20 bucks a month.

It’s an idea whose time has come. As of this writ­ing, the cycle-friend­ly Nether­lands is plot­ting the world’s largest bike park — under­der­ground — to be launched in 2018.

Hat tip to Dan­ny Choo.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Turn Your Bike into an Elec­tric Hybrid with MIT’s “Copen­hagen Wheel”

The Physics of the Bike

How Leo Tol­stoy Learned to Ride a Bike at 67, and Oth­er Tales of Life­long Learn­ing

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Comments (4)
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  • Avi Burstein says:

    Cool video (an cool con­cept!). How­ev­er, the way that the cam­era pans and is point­ed at exact­ly the right place, and that it cap­tures the same bike going up and down, from dif­fer­ent angles, indi­cates that this is not a result of a cam­era stuck to a bike. More like some­one is stand­ing in the right place, point­ing a cam­era at the right place, at the right time.

  • Augusta Leigh says:

    Very nice, but it can’t be free. Or it won’t be if it comes to this con­ti­nent. And what about the chaos and wait­ing time need­ed to recov­er a bike when that park­ing facil­i­ty is full and sev­er­al peo­ple want to park their bikes and retrieve them at the same time? And is there only one spot at which you can do this, or do you have this, with a park­ing atten­dant, on each block? Much sim­pler to hitch to park­ing meter.

  • snipping tool says:

    I don’t want to sound insen­si­tive… but how sure are we that this wasn’t Godzil­la?

  • Bar with a view in London says:

    Thanks for shar­ing!
    Check Out Best Bars With A View In Lon­don

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