Bicycle owners who want to share one of their surplus bicycles for a fee should check out a new service.
Called Spinlister.com, the service created by Will Dennis of Los Angeles, helps match bike owners with travelers who need a bicycle when they visit.
The peer-to-peer marketplace rolled out in San Francisco and Los Angeles in April, and about 120 bicycles are available in each city. The most popular bikes earn about $150 a week.
Spinlister rep Jesse Chemtob says they started a nationwide beta program in late September.
Bike owners can go online to fill out a form and submit a photo of the bike. After the service checks for accuracy, the bike goes online.
Anyone who needs a bike can go to the website, search for bike type, size and availability, and location, then contact the bike’s owner to ask questions and set up the deal.
What keeps someone from stealing a bike? Chemtob says they keep the renter’s credit card on file should anything happen to the bike — such as theft or damage. If anything happens to the bike, Spinlister covers any loss up to $5,000.
I also asked Chemtob how renters can be assured that they’re getting a safe bike.
“We approve each listing before it’s approved, and we have a listing guide for people to follow as well. Also, a system of reviews from other renters ensures you know that you’re getting a great bike.” Renters who aren’t satisfied after the first 24 hours get a full refund.
Needed a bike
Chemtob said Dennis came up with the idea of Spinlister when he was making plans to visit New York City last summer. He decided to buy, then resell, a bike through Craigslist for his use while in the city.
Then the peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Getaround (for cars) and Airbnb (for rooms) caught his attention, but he couldn’t find anything for bicycles.
To test his concept, he posted for rent the bike he was leaving behind in Los Angeles and received a bunch of emails through Craigslist.
“He had a personal need for the service, tested it quickly, and started on building Spinlister,” Chemtob said.
Spinlister is still growing, but there are other options for finding a bicycle when you travel.
Doing a Google search and “rent a bike” and your destination city’s name will turn up a list of bike shops that offer rental bikes. Also, searching “bikes for rent” on Craigslist.org will score some hits in many cities.
Cities that have bike-share programs, such as Washington DC, Denver, Minneapolis and others, usually have short-term memberships for visitors who want to use the bicycles. After the initial membership fee, the bikes are usually available free for a half-hour time limit and must be returned to one of the bike kiosks stationed around the city.