Travelling with a bike is increasingly expensive and a hassle. For hard-core cyclists their bike is their baby - they spend as much, or more, on their bicycles as they do on their cars. This makes travelling with a bicycle risky business. With airlines increasing baggage fees and clamping down on carry-on luggage, the risk, hassle and cost of travelling with a bike is growing. The availability of bike rental services and amenities will, as a result, grow in importance for destinations that want to compete in this market space.
Understanding the needs of fly-in visitors to a cycling destination is critical for they need the following key services:
a selection of good quality bikes in a variety of sizes and price points
the ability to get supplementary/support gear
an easy booking method and booking confirmation email
reasonable deposit and cancellation policy
bike drop-off and pick-up service &/or bike rack rental service
Serious cyclists want to rent serious bicycles. If you’re developing a cycling destination, you need to ensure that the available bike rental services include a selection of high-end, light-weight aluminum and carbon bikes to rent that are in good condition and maintained by a professional bike mechanic.
Fly-in visitors also need a selection of gear and supplies that allows them to be self-sufficient - it is particularly important to provide items that are heavy, risk leaking in luggage or are not permitted on an airplane - this includes CO2 cartridges, multi-tools, locks, chain lube and pedal wrenches. Package everything up for one price and offer items a la carte. Make it easy by sending a gear and supplies reservation checklist to preorder what’s needed.
When taking bookings and deposits, offer a booking confirmation email with the details of the rental item(s), any deposit paid and your company’s cancellation policies. Taking a small deposit to hold a reservation is reasonable but should be refundable if a cancellation is made within 5 to 7 days of arrival.
One of the biggest gaps in the destination cycling sector is bike rack rentals. Car rental companies do not rent bike racks. Fly-in travellers need to transport rental bikes to/from the rental location and to/from trailheads or ride start points. Few companies seem to have figured this out! This equals opportunity in every community that is trying to attract cyclists!