AirBnB for Bikes

AirBnB for Bikes

There are over 100 million bikes in the US and a billion on the planet. Most of those bikes aren’t used daily and sit idle more often than not.

It’s a reality I know quite well. Our little household of two had 5 bikes until we recently paired down. We’re avid cyclists, but you can imagine how much more time these spent gathering dust than out on the road.

Enter Spinlister, one of the newest businesses to enter the peer-to-peer rental space. Founded in 2011, Spinlister is a peer-to-peer bike rental company which allows people to rent a bike online, either from an individual or a bike rental shop. Think AirBnB, but for bikes. Daily rates range from $5 a day to $100 for a really nice bike.

So far the company has launched in San Francisco and New York. In the first six weeks after launch, about 25 percent of listers completed a rental, and of those, 25 percent did multiple rentals. On average they earned $50 renting out their bikes, with some earning $100 a week. As the network grows, I suspect these earnings will follow.

The company has announced a national launch and a new mobile app, both to come later this fall. International plans are also on the way.

I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea. When visiting other cities, there really is no better way of getting the lay of the land and exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of a city than by two wheels. Bringing your own bike everywhere you go can be far more hassle than it’s worth and daily rentals from bike shops are often pricy.

That said, while I’m eager to try the service next time I’m in New York or San Francisco, I’m not sure I’ll be listing one of my own bikes any time soon. What can I say, I’m little controlling and over protective?! Spinlister clearly recognizes this hesitancy and now insures bikes up to $5,000. I’m guessing that will be enough to make most people feel comfortable renting their bike out.

What do you think, would you rent your bike out when Spinlister comes to a city near you?

September 17, 2012