Velolet aims to produce ‘frictionless experiences’ for bike rentals, connecting cyclists with rentals and bicycles with renters by checking or setting bike availability, taking or making reservations, and making or receiving a payment through their online service.
I’m really jazzed to see more bicycle infrastructure and businesses centering on the cycling economy. Yesterday, I wrote about Spinlister, a peer-to-peer bike rental service, and sent out a tweet about it, which got a reply from the Velolet Twitter account, letting me know that their venture is live and running (and, by the way, replying on a social media channel is a great tactic for getting my attention, so kudos to the person behind Velolet’s tweets).
Velolet has been around since 2010, and in their own words, “We help cyclists rent bikes when they travel by connecting them with other cyclists who have bikes to rent. The cyclist renting the bike gets what they want (to ride) and the cyclist listing their bike earns some money (of course to spend on more bike stuff).”
How it works: As a renter, you search for available bikes by zip code or address, view a list of the bikes, and then filter your results to see photos and details (frame style, size, etc) for each bike, including the location and rental price, as well as the availability of that bike. Once you’ve chosen, you can make a reservation, determine the pickup and dropoff time and make a secure payment using a credit card. Then, all you need to do is show up at the pickup time and collect the bike!
For the bike owner (or as they call it, bike lister), you can post your bikes up for rental through a pretty simple process. You enter basic information about the bike (or detailed info for the discerning renter), upload photos of the bike, and chose the pickup/dropoff locations and the rental rates you desire. Once you’re happy with your bike listing, you can publish it, which puts it live on the bike rental list and is ready to start earning you some money when you’re not riding it.
This service seems like a great way for bike shop owners to also get their bikes out and working for them, instead of waiting until someone calls or walks in asking about the bike. It also seems a natural fit for travelers, who might want the option to cruise around on a bike while at their destination, or who get the urge to rent a mountain bike after seeing some sweet trails nearby, or who get drafted into ‘just a little road ride’ by their cycle-crazy relatives.
[Image: Tabsinthe at Flickr]