In several cosmopolitan cities around the world a biking renaissance is occurring that’s charting a new course for alternative travel and a sustainable future. Tourists are accustomed to seeing a city via walking tours or on the tops of hop-on, hop-off tour busses, which are perfect options for some and for others have lost their luster. Seeing a city from a bike adds fresh perspective, allowing travelers to venture deeper into neighborhoods and experience how locals commute to work or perform everyday travel.
A recent Skift podcast episode explored the hot-button topic of bike rentals and bike-sharing and here are five startups positioned to become market leaders in this space. Some already are.
>>Spinlister is a bike rental platform for renting bikes from individuals or existing bike rental shops. The company will also insure an owner’s bike for up to $10,000 for lost or damaged property and has pivoted to also include surfboard and ski rentals. Spinlister also has city guides available for San Francisco to help travelers find bike trails and attractions reachable via bike.
SkiftTake: This is one of the best known bike rental sites on the market right now and the fact that Spinlister now offers rentals beyond bikes indicates it’s success. If it could build out its city guide offerings as well it could draw even more traffic from travelers unfamiliar with where they can go with their bikes in any given city.
>>BykMe connects bike owners with users looking for short, medium and long-term rentals. The startup is currently in beta and also allows users to pay with PayPal.
SkiftTake: Any time we can use PayPal, we do. Especially on a platform where you’re renting from individuals you don’t know this extra level of verification and security matters.
>>Spokefly is an on-demand mobile app for bike rentals offering tiered memberships ranging from 15 cents per minute to $45 per day for unlimited rental use.
SkiftTake: The tiered memberships make sense since travelers will benefit from selecting the option that suits them best, but can also be a deterrent to the transient user who isn’t a serious biker who might only want to do a one-off rental and not be tied down to anything.
>>Cyclister enables travelers to easily find rental bikes online and secure for their vacations. Locally bike owners can list their bikes and make money by renting them out to tourists visiting their cities.
SkiftTake: Cyclister should consider expanding its advice and tips columns on its site as that could be one more way to help it stand out from its competition.
>>Rentaloutdoors helps travelers find bike, kayak, ski, ATV and jeep rentals and the company doesn’t charge commission to owners to rent out their property on the site.
SkiftTake: Not charging owners a fee to use your site and offering basically any kind of rental you would need for a vacation or otherwise? We’re certainly not complaining.