Space Ninety 8: Bikestock Pop-Up
We spoke to Joseph Huba, one of the founders of Bikestock, a company that provides "support for urban cyclists through a network of vending machines, toolkits, and branded cycling products," to find out a little bit more about their current pop-up shop at Space Ninety 8, how their company was born, and (of course) the best places to bike in New York City.
What made you all come up with the idea for Bikestock?
It was actually Matt [Von Ohlen]'s idea. We were working at the same restaurant at the time and one day he ran the idea by me and it just made sense. It was like a light turned on inside my head and I just knew that this was something worth pursuing. And what made it resonate even more was the fact that I was working as a messenger and was always needing around-the-clock access to bike parts and repair. Matt has his fair share of horror stories on a bike, too. I mean, who hasn't needed an inner tube or access to air in the middle of night?
Was it hard to get the project off the ground?
Yes, it was very hard. From the get-go a lot of people just thought it was a great idea. And that was it. It was like, "I get it but how are you guys going to get money and find locations?" Needless to say that didn't stop us. We spent a ton of time writing our business plan and just kicking ideas back and forth. Eventually we came up with the idea of the toolkit as a way to start somewhere. I remember reading this book, I think it was the $100 Startup and there was a piece in there on starting a business tomorrow, with $50. I thought to myself, "Okay, if I had $50 to spend, what would I spend it on?" We kicked around a ton of ideas and the toolkit is what we came up with. That kept us motivated while we were searching for a location for a vending machine, a work stand, and air pump.
How do you choose what goes into your machines?
Well, I worked at a shop for years while I was going to school at University of Maryland and Matt has been riding bicycles since he was a kid, so we both kind of just knew what should go in the machine. We narrowed the selection down to what people need access to around the clock. There's something in our vending machines for everybody. It doesn't matter if you're not a cyclist. Whether you're a runner, a skateboarder, or someone commuting to work via the L train, we can take care of you.
What will we be able to find at your pop-up?
The pop-up itself has some bags and gear from our friends at Vaya Bags and Mer Bags; everything from rolltop backpacks to wallets to tote bags (and all the Vaya and Mer gear is handmade in Brooklyn). We also have some cycling related books, some awesome maps from All You Can Eat Press (a burger map, ramen map, and doughnut map). In addition to the books and maps we also have a film from our friends Crihs and Luke called Empire. It's chock full of some of the gnarliest fixed gear riding from the world's baddest ass riders.
And of course we have cycling specific items, like battery powered and USB rechargeable lights.
Where do you see Bikestock going in the future?
We see ourselves all over. We want to have a far reaching network that inspires people to ride and get outside more often.
What are some of your favorite spots in Brooklyn?
Jimmy's Diner is the best place to get food. Hands down. Get the chicken and waffles, you won't regret it. I also love the bar Lucky Dog. It's right across the street from DuMont Burger, which is also a great place to go for a beer and a burger. On a non-food related note, I also enjoy the LES Skate Park. It's my favorite place to go skate and it's one of the best parks in New York City.
Favorite spots to bike in NYC?
I love riding over the Williamsburg Bridge to work. That's always fun. And if you've been off your bike for a while, it can be a very unforgiving ride! I also love riding to the beach; whether it's to the Rockaways or Ft. Tilden, it's always a fun journey. There's something really special about when you get close to the water. It all of a sudden stops feeling like New York, but then you remember it is and that's what makes New York so awesome. There's even a (highly reputable) bird sanctuary out there, too! It's called the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It's a super fun day trip and is easily accessible by bicycle.
What tunes have you been listening to lately?
I really love this DJ named Monster Rally. He is so incredible at mashing up songs and making them feel like original compositions. He just put out a 4 track EP that's got this cool vibe to it. It's definitely worth checking out. I also can't stop listening to Ghostface Killah. "Ironman" is one of my all-time favorite albums and to me it will never get old. Check out the music video for "Camay." It's got such a '90s feel to it, it's amazing. I've also been listening to this band California X. Bikestock actually helped put on a show at Shea Stadium in Bushwick and Cali X headlined a few months back. They played a killer set to a venue that was almost full. It was great! They kind of remind me of Dinosaur Jr. and some other good '90s bands.