Biking can be one of the best ways to combat climate change and get exercise. But the downside to switching to a bike commute is that it increases the possibility your bicycle will be stolen.
In fact, The National Bike Registry reports that an estimated 1.5 million bikes are stolen each year in the U.S. and a recent a survey in Montreal found that half (!) of all "active" bike riders have been victims of a theft.
But the Yerka, a new bike design by a trio of twentysomething Chileans, promises to stop such sad discoveries.
The Indiegogo-funded brainchild of Juan José Monsalve, Andrés Roi and Cristóbal Cabello went into production earlier this month with their first order of 300 bikes.
The Yerka's ingenious design came from a simple question. After Roi had two of his bikes stolen, he asked: "What would happen if the bike was its own lock?" So they built a prototype, using 3D printing, laser cutting and lathing, that allows the the seat tube to be moved and reattached in a matter of seconds.
Since the aluminum frame is the lock, any attempt to cut through it would destroy the bike, making it useless to the thief.
According to CNN, the US$499 bike is only earning them enough to break even, given the expenses of production and distribution.
"We knew this at the beginning. What's important is that people get to know the Yerkas worldwide," Cabello told CNN, saying they're seeking a million-dollar investment to ramp up to 300 bikes a month. "The most important goal is that customers say, 'This bike is great. We love the bike you sold us and we will spread the word.'"