Solving Cities

Now you can rent a bike from your neighbor

Now you can rent a bike from your neighbor

Posting in Cities

Modeled after Airbnb, a new website lets you put your bike up for rent.

In some cities access to bike rentals is made easy with bikeshare stations. But for cities that aren't lucky enough to have bikeshare (or are patiently waiting for it), there's a new way to link the bikeless with a temporary bike fix.

Similar to peer-to-peer carsharing services, Spinlister lets you rent that awesome bike you covet from your neighbor (or one like it) for an hour, day, or week at a time.

The website has the look and feel of an Airbnb for bikes. Anyone can put their bike on the site to be rented out. Bike owners post pictures of their bike on the website along with details about the bike and what it comes with (a lock, headlight, etc). Reviews are also available from others that rented the bike. When someone shows interest in the bike they are put in touch with the owner and work out details of when and where to pick it up. It's a service that works especially well for those bike owners who don't get around to riding as much as they would like. Plus, it brings in a little extra income for something that otherwise only collects dust. Individuals or existing bike rental shops can post their bikes without fear of their bike being stolen or damaged. Spinlister will cover the costs up to $5,000.

TechCrunch has more details:

In the first six weeks after its launch about 25 percent of listers completed a rental, and of those, about 25 percent did multiple rentals. That means those users make an average of $50 each renting out their bike. The more popular your bike the more rents you get, with some people making up to $100 a week. Spinlister also now offers a guarantee which insures your bike for up to $5,000, which helps with traction obviously.

At first it might seem like a stretch to want to rent bikes. If you want to use a bike why rent instead of just buying one? There are plenty of good deals of Craigslist. But in the same way that owning a car can be inconvenient for urban living, the same can be said about bikes if you live in a tiny apartment with limited storage space. Or, if you're visiting a city and want to get around on a bike, this service would be convenient.

Even for cities with bikeshare, Spinlister could be useful because you can potentially rent it from someone living closer to you than a bikesharing docking station and you can get right to your destination without looking for the closest station.

Currently, the service is only available in New York City and San Francisco, but it's still in beta so expect to see other cities with bike rentals available soon.

(h/t Urban Turf DC)

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure