Thinking about the famous Golden Gate Bridge bike ride for this weekend? Maybe you’re ready to explore Austin’s weirdness on two wheels? Or you want to explore Denver’s beautiful bike trails? No matter your chosen adventure, renting a bike in a place you don’t know can be a challenge.
Fortunately, with bike-sharing platforms like Spinlister – it’s never been easier to find a ride. You can track down bike shop rentals or find a local cyclist to share their ride in a matter of minutes.
But before you click that search button, make sure you know what you’re looking for.
Here are a few important considerations that will ensure your next bike rental experience is excellent.
Renting a Bike Properly = Knowing Your Route
Before your next ride, there’s a lot to be gained by scoping out the local cycling scene. With a quick Google search, you’ll find a wealth of route options in a given location. (You can find some great suggestions, bike maps, and photos on Spinlister.)
Even if you don’t land on a specific route, you should have the following points covered:
- What type of riding you want to do
- What part of town you want to ride in
- How long you want to be out riding
Having these points down will ensure you find the right bike for the job. Plus, you’ll be able to confirm your ideal rental period and will locate bike rental providers in your immediate area.
What Type of Rental Bike Fits Your Ride?
In short, the best bike for casually riding in the park is not going to cut it in the Santa Monica Mountains. If you’re not sure how to pick out these differences, here’s a breakdown of common bike types.
They may be heavy, but they’re super comfortable for a relaxing afternoon ride. Because of how they’re built, cruisers are best for flat rides around town or on a beach boardwalk. Take it from us – you don’t want to push these bikes any further!
Also known as “commuter bikes,” these bikes are for perfect for day-to-day use. From running errands around town to riding to work, these are made for efficient point-to-point riding. However, you’ll want to keep moving down this list if you need something faster.
Lightweight with narrow tires, road bikes are designed for speed on smooth surfaces. If you’re riding to workout, this is the bike you’ll want to rent. That said, you should avoid any dirt paths or mixed surfaces – as road bikes are at their best on true pavement.
Built for off-road riding, mountain bikes provide bombproof frames and an upright position for rugged adventures. Featuring wide tires and disc brakes, you’ll get plenty of traction and consistent braking power to help control your speed. You’ll find a wide range of mountain bikes – from entry-level cross-country bikes for beginners to full-on downhill bikes for getting rowdy in the bike park. For most riders, we recommend cross-country or all-mountain/trail bikes – as these will perform well on most local trails / mountain bike areas.
These rides offer the best of both road bikes and mountain bikes. Their large seats and upright handlebars make them comfortable for a city ride. But they’re also hardy enough to handle unpaved roads. Hybrid bikes still can’t handle trails like a proper mountain bike. So if you plan to get really wild, plan renting a bike accordingly.
What Size Bike Do You Need?
If you rent the wrong bike size, you can look forward to an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous ride. Most likely, the shop or individual providing the bike can help you determine the size you need. But ultimately, choosing the right bike is your responsibility.
Before you select your bike rental, take the time to understand bike sizing.
Renting a Bike from a Bike Shop or Bike Share Platform?
There’s more than one way to rent a bike. Your best option isn’t always obvious, especially not in large cities where you are inundated with possibilities. The most common choices for bike rentals are:
- Renting from a local bike shop
- Renting from a cyclist who has listed their bike on a ride-sharing platform
- Using rental bikes from a city bike-share program
So much of choosing the best bike rental option comes down to location, availability, and cost. You can explore your options on Spinlister, perusing the bikes and rates from individual listers and bike shops.
Or you can look up the docks for the city’s bike-share program, but we don’t recommend this as a first option. Those bikes are convenient for quick travel between bus stops. But the pricing structure and uniform bike size make for an expensive and uncomfortable day of riding.
What are the Local Bike Laws?
This consideration doesn’t influence which bike you choose to rent. But it is something you should look into before climbing into the saddle.
No matter where you’re riding, you’ll need to understand the rules of the road (or trail system). Make sure you run some Google searches on what you can expect in your local area. Then when you rent a bike, you’ll not only be ready to hit the road, you’ll also know if you need to make sure the ride is equipped with safety essentials like reflectors and bike lights.
And don’t be shy about asking the bike shop or lister for their insights about biking locally. Cyclists love helping each other out, and they can fill you in on the quirks of the area. They know where it’s safest to ride, where to find shortcuts and where to look out for traffic.
Once you’re ready to hit the road, check out Spinlister for great bike rentals near you.