Whether you want to enjoy a leisurely ride in and around the outskirts of the city or are looking for a fuss-free mode of daily transportation that lets you avoid crazy traffic jams, a bicycle rental offers you the best of both worlds.
Bikesharing services are mostly pocket-friendly, convenient, and for the eco-conscious among us, an excellent way to lower your carbon footprint.
Wondering where to find a bicycle rental near you? Below are the most common options.
Bicycle Rental Shops
Apps have definitely made life easier and you can conveniently hire a bike right from your smartphone. That being said, good old bike rental shops come in handy especially if you are looking for well-maintained bicycles.
Rental shops are not only in the business of renting bikes but also of repairing and ensuring their gear is in top shape too. One advantage here is that you get to inspect the bike before renting.
Keep in mind though that OG bike rental shops can be more expensive than the bike-sharing upstarts.
Bike Rental Networks
Bike rental networks are quite similar to traditional rental shops in that the process of renting a bike is not automated.
The difference is that with rental networks a bunch of bikes are available at various places that are manned by a staff of volunteers who facilitate the process of renting a bike.
So, you might find bikes to rent at popular locations such as at a railway station, restaurant or motel, a school, or close to a tourist destination.
This is another place where an app can help. Google Maps can display bike rental networks near you while an app like Float can notify you when you are close to a place where you can rent a bike. Day-trippers and tourists find rental shops and bike networks particularly useful in terms of access to affordable and safe transportation.
Usually, in addition to paying for the bike, you will need to register your name and/or leave a refundable deposit with the rental facility. The facility also requires you to return the bike to the original location which can be a bit of a hassle.
Peer-to-Peer Bike Sharing
If you have used or at least like the idea of ridesharing services such as Grab, Gojek, Uber, Lyft and others, peer-to-peer (P2P) bike sharing schemes might be a good option for you.
Bikesharing works the same way and might even be available in the app you are already using for ridesharing. In the app, you can see other people’s bikes that are available for rent. Alongside the bike’s photo might be a short description and of course, the price you will need to pay to rent.
The advantage of using a peer-to-peer bike sharing service is that you can choose the type of bicycle you want. It is also a great way to quickly find and rent local bikes for a short period of time. Because you get to meet the bike’s owner, this option comes with the added bonus of making new friends.
Docking Bike Stations
Bikesharing services commonly employ both docking and dockless bike stations. As their popularity continues to increase, it’s easy to walk down any street and spot them in most major metropolitan areas.
Most docking hubs let you pay via your smartphone, debit card, or credit card to unlock a bike. Other docking bike services have a membership program that offers a smart card that you can use to rent bikes for up to your card limit.
You might save quite a bit with membership-based bike rental services as these sometimes offer their customers handsome discounts. Additionally, many docking bike rental services offer the first 30 minutes of cycling free.
Dockless Bike Services
Unlike docked bike rental schemes, dockless services do not require you to locate a docking hub from where to rent or return a bike. Once you are done using the bike, you can leave it anywhere for the next user. This is very convenient but can the fact that people can leave bikes anywhere creates a little of a mess around town. Putting that aside, if you just want to ride from point A to B without worrying about the return trip or finding a docking hub, dockless might be the way to go.
Knowing where to locate the most convenient and budget-friendly bike-sharing service is not always easy. But with a little help from smartphone apps, finding a bicycle rental near you can be as easy as grabbing an Uber or jumping on public transport.