Are you headed off for vacation? Stuck without wheels because your car is in the shop? Or you just don’t own a car? Either way, if you’re missing a form of transportation, you have to find some way to get around. Fortunately, there are more options than ever these days. Between rideshares, scooter, car, and bike rentals, you can always find a mode of transport. But what’s the most cost-effective option? It isn’t always easy to tell just by looking at daily rates. Each rental option comes with its own set of added costs. Plus, there are lifestyle considerations. Let’s compare bike rental costs to other forms of rentals and find the best option.
We’ve provided this handy cost breakdown of your rental options to help you prepare for your upcoming vacation or general carless-ness. This guide gives you the big picture, including additional hidden expenses and practical considerations. Of course, we’re bike lovers, so you won’t be surprised to learn that we’re all about bike rentals. Regardless, we’re just here to lay out the facts.
Bike Rentals Costs Breakdown
The actual price of a bike rental will depend on the bike type (basic, premium, etc.) and who’s renting it. Whether you rent from a bike shop or from another cyclist on Spinlister, you could be paying anywhere from $10-$65 a day.
But here’s what’s great about bike rentals costs:
The rental fee is pretty much the only cost there is. You don’t have fuel up, so you don’t pay for gas. And you aren’t charged by the mile. Plus, when you use a bike-sharing service like Spinlister, you can often find a shorter rental period. Many cyclists are willing to rent their ride by the hour and the half-day. So if you’re only looking for evening transportation during an overnight stay out of town, bike rental is definitely the way to go.
Car Rental Cost Breakdown
Just as with bike rentals, the cost of a rental car varies according to the type of car. Prices can range from around $40 to as much as $150 each day. And that’s before additional costs such as:
- Taxes and fees which can add $15-$30
- A young renters fee for if you’re under 25 ($30-$70)
- Double or triple the cost of gas if you return the vehicle without filling the tank
Once you have the car, you’ll also pay for fuel and parking. Those are easy details to forget. As you budget your trip, do a little research so you know current gas prices in the local area. It’s also a good idea to get a sense of potential parking costs, especially if you’re headed to a major city.
Scooter Rental Cost Breakdown
Scooter rental services like Lime and Bird seem insanely cheap until you start doing math. Prices vary by city, but the structure looks like this:
Base fare (around $1) + per-minute price ($0.15-$0.20)
If you’re paying 15 cents a minute, that comes out to $10 for the first hour and $9/hour after that. You can get a rental bike on Spinlister for a similar rate, in which case you’d have the added benefit of being on a bike.
It’s also worth remembering that scooters are not quite as convenient as they seem. You can’t book a scooter in advance, so you’re at the mercy of current availability. And you have to be extremely careful where you leave the scooter, in consideration of sidewalk safety and your own wallet. If you make the mistake of leaving it on private property, chargers and other riders cannot locate it. This means a company employee has to personally retrieve the scooter . . . and charge you $120.
Ride Share Cost Breakdown
Again, specific prices depend on your location. But in general, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft base pricing on a rather long calculation. On any given ride, you are charged:
- A base fare to cover the pick-up price ($1.79 average)
- A fee for length of the ride in minutes ($0.21/minute average)
- A fee for the length of the ride in miles ($1.00/mile average)
- A booking fee, which covers the cost of background checks, administrative costs, etc. ($1.00 average)
If you take a ride in a busy area at a busy time, you should also expect to pay a “surge variable.” That’s a fancy way of saying the price increases drastically because demand is so high. Rideshares also charge a cancellation fee of $5.00.
And then on top of all this, there’s the tip. Of course, tipping is optional. It just doesn’t feel optional when you see that picture of your driver’s super cute kid dangling from the rearview mirror.
Additional Benefits of Choosing Bike Rentals
In most cases, bike rentals costs are the most economical way to get around a new city. But the relatively low cost isn’t the only advantage to this option.
For one thing, it’s easier to park two wheels than four wheels. When you’re on a bike, you can come, go, and get sidetracked without worrying about where to stash your ride. It’s much easier to explore the nooks and crannies of a city, and you can blow past traffic in congested areas. A rental bike is also easy to manage on public transit in bike-friendly cities like Denver.
And as far as we’re concerned, the absolute best aspect of choosing rental bikes is that it immediately connects you with the cycling community. Bike shops and Spinlister listers both have invaluable insight about biking locally. They can tell you the best routes and the most accommodating areas so you can hit the pavement in confidence.
Finding Bike Rentals in Any City
Sometimes people don’t rent bikes for one simple reason:
It doesn’t occur to them.
We think of rental cars, rideshares, and scooters as immediately accessible, but rental bikes can be easy to overlook. It’s not like there’s a bike shop on every corner and in every airport.
There is actually something better. There are bike-sharing platforms like Spinlister that help you find rental bikes in any part of the world. You can use Spinlister to connect with bike shops and local cyclists willing to rent out their rides. Whether you need a cruiser, road bike, or mountain bike, you can almost always find an option near you, no matter where you are.
However you get your hands on a pair of wheels, we highly recommend rental bikes for out-of-town travel. They’re affordable, convenient, fun, and a great way to explore a new city . . . or your own.