Apropos my current bicycle search, (see below post) I thought this feature especially timely. The Bike Tree is a new alternative to chaining your bike to a street sign or an overcrowded bike rack. It has a minimal footprint/”trunk” where you park your front tire, then watch as it lifts your ride up under a protectice canopy. All you have to do is swipe a smart card, enter your PIN, and leave your worries behind. Your bike is now safe from both thieves and mother nature. Oh, and the best part? The whole thing is solar powered. The system, first installed in Geneva, can also be configured as a bike rental kiosk. Speaking as someone who has lost 1 bike to nature and 2 bikes to thieves, I think this is a pretty damn good idea. My only concern is that if too many of these were in one place – regardless of their small footprint – they might become a dense eyesore more annoying than a rusty, crowded bike rack.
Cheers to thinking different.