Check Craiglist’s bike section, and you’ll see at least one “stolen bike” listing every few days. There are tricks to locking up that can make your bike less likely to get stolen, but all a thief needs is the right tool and a little opportunity. No lock is invulnerable; it’s all about where it’s parked. A new app, Nookhub offers cyclists a place to park their precious ride that’s as secure as it gets.
Once signed in to the Nookhub iPhone app or the website via Facebook (or the old-fashioned way), users can search a map for the nearest available parking spot, or “nook.” Nookhub has partnered with local bike shops that will look after your ride. Nooks start at $7.50 for one,well, nook, which is good for 24 hours. Riders have 45 minutes to check in after booking a nook.
Angel Ho, Nookhub’s founder, herself rides her bike to get around, so she knows the struggle. “I came up with the idea because I love my bike and I wish I could ride it to everywhere,” she has said. This is a great option for cyclists who want to commute on their “good” bike, be it a fancy carbon roadie or a classic steel fixie with nary a u-lock scratch.
Nookhub is off to a solid start, but as a startup riders can expect it to expand and improve. It has launched in New York City’s Lower East Side, Chelsea, and Williamsburg neighborhoods and has plenty of room to grow. Ho told Digital Trends, “We plan to expand to midtown and downtown, as well as some areas in Brooklyn,” with other cities to follow. “We hope to expand to SF and Chicago in the near future after NYC.”
There might also be added range to the type of nook location. While cyclists should always support their local bike shop, their hours of operation are kind of narrow for a parking service. In NYC shops are usually open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and perhaps 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. if they’re generous. Many cyclists (this writer included) are looking for parking for night outings, say to a movie or dinner, at a time when bike shops are closed or closing.
Ho said, “Currently, every parking location listed in the app [is a] bike shop …. Users can park overnight if they need to.” That’s great, but not so much if a rider wants to head out to a movie and ride home afterwards.
To address that need, Nookhub is working on expanding its reach. Ho said, “We are building partnerships with gyms, where the parking hours can be more flexible.”
So if going out late or to an area where stripped bikes festoon lamp posts on every block, riders can use Nookhub for overnight stays. During the day, it’s easy to grab a nook for a few-hour stopover. Riders in other cities can keep an eye on the site for expansions.