Sure, you could drive to work, hail a cab, or car pool. But you could also bum a ride on Spinlister, a website and app that lets you rent bikes from other people in your area, for as long as you want.
The company, originally conceived by two college students, really got rolling in 2013. And it’s since been coined the “Airbnb of bikes.” They now have active users in more than 100 countries, just launched in the UK, and made headlines earlier this month when an Ironman champion became their first pro-athlete user.
While pedaling from A to B on someone else’s sweet two-wheel ride was the original conceit, as of June, you’ll be able to rent standup paddle boards and surfboards—just in time for SUP season. How it works: you put in your location, choose by price and type, and coordinate a time and location with the renter.
And while major bike sharing programs might seem like a competitor, they’re not, says Andrew Batey, chief marketing officer of Spinster. The company is trying to appeal to travelers with their model. “Tourists don’t want heavy and ugly bikes they need to dock every 30 minutes,” Batey says, referring to New York City’s bike sharing program, Citi Bike.
And you can keep the rental for more than the amount of time it takes you to blow dry your hair. “Sixty percent of our rentals are for two days or longer,” Batey says. Spinlister also offers more bike options—from $3 beach cruisers to $12 unicycles (for all the clowns?), and up to $20 for serious triathlon bikes.
How do these bikes not just disappear? Spinlister has some safety measures in place, like verifying users’ identity through Facebook and a phone number, and an in-app chat feature that allows users to communicate. And if someone steals your rental or you break what you borrowed? The company insures each rental and has “only had two cases of theft since they launched,” Batey swears.
In addition to bikes, you can also list and rent skis and snowboards. Something to keep in mind come winter. —Molly Gallagher
For more information, visit www.spinlister.com