Renting a bike has many advantages. There is no hassle of bringing your own, you can explore nature, spend time outside and exercise. But there are so many rental bikes on offer. How do you find the best one for you? This guide will discuss how to rent a bike and what to consider to have a great experience.
Where to rent a bike?
There are various ways to rent a bike. If you live in a big city, it’s even more of a truth. There are hundreds of bike rental options. Their types include:
Bike-sharing. It is becoming popular among commuters, which is not surprising. It lets commuters avoid the buses, live greener, exercise, spend more time in the fresh air, and more. However, bike-sharing is best for short trips within the city. The bikes are all the same, and they are not very comfortable, especially because you cannot choose the size.
Peer-to-peer rentals. People that own bikes do not necessarily use them all the time. So they might put up those bikes for rent. They usually rent out bikes for at least half a day. There are many peer-to-peer bike renting apps and websites, from specialized ones to Craigslist.
Bike rental shops. Shops also rent out bikes for lengthier periods, such as a day. You can choose any type, from cruisers and comfort bikes to mountain and gravel bikes. They also have different sizes and will help you choose the best one.
Whether you will rent from a peer-to-peer site or in a bike rental shop, you need to find the best bike for you. So, what should you consider?
Where are you planning to ride your bike?
It is probably the most crucial question of all because it determines the type of bike you need. You need to consider the road: is it going to be pavement or dirt trails? Are you planning a long trip that needs to be comfortable? Everything matters.
We already wrote a guide to different bike types. To put it briefly:
- If you want speed and to cover long distances on smooth surfaces, choose a road bike.
- Adventurous tour on rough terrains? Choose a mountain bike.
- The route includes distances both on-road and off-road? Choose a gravel bike or a sport hybrid.
- If you want to explore the city leisurely, a cruiser or comfort hybrid is best.
- Planning a long trip on pavement and light trails? You might want a touring bike.
- Finally, if you do not want to tire out and want some assistance, choose an electric bike.
The right bike size
Another important thing is choosing the right bike size. No matter how comfortable the bike, it will feel wrong if you choose the wrong size. The wrong size can also be dangerous because it will be harder to control the bike.
Sit on the bike and try to decide whether it feels right. Pay the most attention to your reach from the seat to the handles. The right size is always important, but the longer your trip, the more it matters.
Most bikes have such sizes as XS, S, M, L, and so on. They can also be marked in cm: 43, 47, 50, 54, and so on. Briefly, if you are from 5’2 to 5’6 feet, you need an S or a 50 cm bike; if you are from 5’7 to 5’11, you need an M or 54 cm; and if you are from 6 to 6’3, you need an L or a 58 cm bike. Check out this bike size chart to understand bike sizes better.
Some bike accessories?
Accessories cost extra, of course, but they can increase your comfort for a low price a lot. They can even be a necessity. For example, if you are traveling with your family, you might need a trailer for children or a baby seat. If you are planning to shop, a rack on the bike would be nice.
We also recommend having a bike helmet. Although it’s not required, accidents happen, and a helmet decreases the risk of bad injuries a lot.
Basics of riding a bike safely
Keeping safe will not decrease your enjoyment of the trip. It might even increase it because other travelers will also be happy, and the risk of accidents will be lower. It is crucial to check bike rules in the area where you are planning to rent your bike.
This is not an extensive guide to bike laws, but here are a few rules to remember.
- When on the streets, ride by the side so that cars can overtake you. But do not be too close to the side because the road can be too uneven there.
- When in a group, ride in a single file on busy and narrow roads. Otherwise, two bikes can ride side by side
- When taking turns, be aware of other traffic. Do not forget to signal the turns!
- Follow the rules like other vehicles. That means you cannot drive intoxicated, ignore traffic lights, etc.
Planning to ride in Missouri? Check out our article on Missouri bike laws.
Perhaps you are planning to rent a bike in Hawaii? Learn everything you need to know!