It’s easy to feel like your day-to-day routine must go on hiatus while traveling since, sadly, your entire household can’t fit into one bag. This especially goes for avid cyclists … I mean, forget your daily bike ride, right? You have no bike to ride with! Well, we have the solution for you: a bike rental. Not only is it expensive to fly with a bike - some airline prices are as high as $200 plus additional fees - it can be a hassle to simply keep track of while you're on the go. If you're unable to bring your bike along while traveling, opting for a bike rental is the quickest way to exploring a new place on two wheels in no time.
Not sure where to start? Here are our suggestions for renting a bike while traveling:
Bike Rental Research Prior to Departure
First and foremost, plan ahead. Research the area or surrounding areas you’ll be staying in to get an idea of the bike rental options you’ll have. Depending on the length of your stay, this will help determine the costs you’ll need to set aside for a bike rental and what equipment you’ll need to pack.
Rent from Local Bike Shops
Bike shops are the most logical options for renting. Either search online for "local bike shops in [area name here]" or call your hotel to ask for a list of recommended shops nearby. You never know, maybe your hotel has a partnership with a local shop and can get you a sweet deal.
Bike shops have the luxury of catering to a variety of biking enthusiasts, because they offer an array of models. From mountain bikes to road bikes to e-bikes, nine times out of ten they’ll have what you’re looking for. You’ll also have reassurance from the staff that you’re rip roaring and ready to go once they’ve outfitted both you and your bike for the local terrain.
It also wouldn’t hurt to call ahead to see if you can make a reservation, so the moment you get there your own customized rental bike will be waiting for you. You can take that time to also inquire about what is included with your bike rental; helmet, map, bike lock, water bottle holder, etc.
With the rise in popularity of cycling, some hotels are jumping on the trend by including bike rentals as a guest amenity. From bike-friendly B&Bs to high-end accommodations, these hotels are encouraging you to explore their areas off the beaten paths.
B&Bs like our very own Swamp Rabbit Inn in Greenville, SC offer 12 Specialized City bikes with 7 speeds and 2 Jamis 3 speed cruiser bikes, ideal for riding the Swamp Rabbit Trail or around downtown. Luxury accommodations like Le Méridien hotels have teamed up with Priority Bicycles for a global pilot program - Le Méridien Bicycle - that offers custom fleets exclusively to guests. Be sure to inquire about in-house bike rentals when booking your next hotel.
Rent from Bike-Sharing Systems
If you’ve never heard of Citi Bike or BCycle before - no judgments - we’re just going to assume you’ve been living under a rock. Bike-sharing systems have grown exponentially - nearly 900 systems worldwide - over the past few years. From Citi Bike in New York City to Vélib’ in Paris, it'd be odd to find a major city nowadays without one.
Need to get to a meeting a few blocks away, but don't have time to sit in traffic or looking to get out of the hotel room for a couple of hours? Bike-sharing allows individuals to pay-to-rent docked bicycles for a temporary period of time; either returning them to the same docking station later or another within the given area. For a list of bike-sharing systems in the area you’ll be in, either check out BikeShare.com or search online for "bike-sharing stations in [area name here]."
If you must travel with your road bike here is a great video explaining how to pack your bike for travel!
We wish you safe travels and hope you'll consider a bike rental for exploring your final destination!