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Providing a New Way to Store Your Bike: Apartment B, an Australian start-up

November 15, 2017
Providing a New Way to Store Your Bike: Apartment B, an Australian start-up

There’s little denying the importance of ensuring your beloved steed, or fleet of bicycles are hidden, safe and secure when not in use. Whilst there are many solutions on the market that aid in securing your ride, Australian company Apartment B has bought a new solution to the market that aims to give your pride and joy the home it deserves.

Providing a range of secure, lockable and weather-proof storage units just for bicycles, the idea behind the product that the company claims is “more than a bike security solution”. As many of us can relate, cycling can be all-consuming; with a significant part of your budget and time allocated to upgrades and maintenance, all of which are in vain if the bike in question is visible and attractive to would-be thieves.

We caught up with Geoff Ross, founder of Apartment B to learn more about the company, and its innovative storage solutions.

Enter Apartment B

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Delivered as an extra room just for your bike, this secure, lockable storage unit was born from the fact that most people store bikes in a room in their apartment or house, or in the risky location of an open rack or cage in a basement car park.

The ‘bike lockers’ come complete with hooked walls for helmets and similar, so that all your equipment can exist in one large treasure chest instead of being tactfully dispersed throughout your house or apartment.

What’s more, Apartment B lockers feature a three-point locking system, are weatherproof (but not water sealed) for external applications and can be delivered as a DIY friendly product. Alternatively, they can be delivered and assembled by Apartment B staff or by reputable bike stores and mobile service mechanics. This ensures the functionality and security of its product. Most options store two bikes comfortably if required. Custom options can be also arranged.

Creating A Space For Bikes

Ross recalls the moment the idea for a secure bike locker finally materialised. “During a trip to Vancouver, we noticed that the city was competing with Melbourne for the title of ‘most liveable city’ but had a much more focused approach to decongesting the city through creating space for bikes”. This growth in cycling infrastructure then revealed the problem of riders having inadequate storage facilities in their workplace and at home.

The solution was obvious, create a bike specific location where cyclists could store their bike without the associated anxiety that it might be spotted by shady opportunists and consequently stolen. Along with keeping rides safe from thieving hands, non-cyclists didn’t have to work around bikes and the cyclist could do a 9-5 knowing their bike was safe despite not being within immediate reach. So Apartment B was born.

Decluttering The Domestic Domain

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Often tolerated but not wholly embraced by the significant other or housemate, top-tier bikes that live in the house but don’t pay their own rent and can begin to irk the other inhabitants. Additionally, the constant desire to upgrade can add more pressure for adequate storage space. “How do you justify to your partner getting a new bike when you already have a house full of bikes? Who has priority of the space, the bikes or the family?” Asks Ross.

Questions such as this highlight how the company has taken into account the place that bikes have in the family and domestic context, about the person riding the bike, their values and routine, and how Apartment B fits within that realm.

An Outside Perspective

Ross himself hails from a background in security and construction, specifically garage doors. He has spent two decades observing the consequence of an open basement or garage, witnessing the undesirable outcomes of visible vehicles.

Whilst Ross acknowledges that being a non-cyclist while trying to appeal to this market has its challenges, such as assuming an outcome based on theory. "Sometimes when you are emotionally invested, the solution is clouded. Apartment B sees the opportunity as a solutions provider that can facilitate increased participation and the achievement of infrastructure programs designed to get you on your bike. ”

To avoid this tunnel vision, the company continues to evaluate the family dynamic, as well as gain insights from cyclists themselves to find out what matters to them, what drives them to ride, why and where the is stored and what solutions would work for them.

This interaction with the bike industry helped the creative team at Apartment B in “bringing to life the personality of what is ultimately simply a box that is secure.” Continuing to hone in just what it is that makes cyclists tick, Ross notes that “cyclists like their tech, products, and brands. We had to build a voice for it and make it desirable, whether it is for security or just storage in general.”

Not without a Challenge

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When asked about challenges or hurdles faced in the Apartment B Journey, Ross discloses that the price point might deter those with less expensive bikes or would appear to be too much of an extra cost on top of an already costly hobby. He points out the fact that bikes are constantly being upgraded, being used and interacted with, and the investment in a secure home for your bike is really a small price to pay.

Ross points out that "each time you upgrade your bike, the security solution remains constant." This means that for those on the go who want to store the bike at their workplace, there exists the option to rent, meaning driving and parking costs can even further be mitigated thanks to bike travel.

Ross is quite invested in the commercial side of the business but accepts that square meterage is a percieved limitation in many office buildings. Apartment B is a way to encourage a shift in that perspective. “There is always a solution, and the cyclist needs to provide it. We give them that option.” Ultimately, Ross will continue to work with cyclists and businesses alike to ensure that Apartment B continues to integrate seamlessly into a riders daily routine, workspace as well as their abode. Watch this space.

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