Want to hire a bike in a strange town but don’t fancy clunky Boris Bike type rentals or commercial hire bikes of unpredictable quality? Spinlister is a new app that puts people who have bikes they want to hire out in touch with people who want to rent them.
Spinlister is a bike sharing app that allows cyclists to post their bikes online and hire them out for an hour, a day or more. On the flipside, it lets cyclists rent bikes from other riders.
Through the Spinlister app or website you can rent out a bike, and chat with a renter to arrange pick up or drop off. The Spinlister folks say a day’s hire will be cheaper than traditional bike rental or taking a Boris bike out for a whole day.
It sounds like it could be a nice bit of beer money if you have a spare bike or two, especially if you live somewhere that gets lots of summer tourists or where people might want to hire a bike to commute during, say, a Tube strike.
Spinlister operates in over 100 countries round the world. It started in the US in 2012 and launched in the UK this year. Bikes hired through the service are insured for $5,000 (about £3,000).
Users set their own charges and Spinlister takes 17.5% from the lister, and charges 12.5% service fee to the renter, which it says is similar to other sharing services.
It all sounds very friendly and community-orientated, but you’re probably already wondering what happens if your bike gets stolen or damaged, and what measures Spinlister has in place to authenticate renters to prevent the service becoming a scumbag’s charter.
Spinlister chief marketing officer, Andrew Batey told us: “Spinlister incorporates a wide variety of security checks to guarantee that both the lister and the renter are fully covered. Of course, a sharing ecosystem often relies on a certain amount of trust, but we have many safety procedures in place, such as verification through social media, mobile and user reviews from previous transactions.
“We also have in place a sophisticated set of T&Cs and are continuously in the process of evolving our security checks. In the future, we will be introducing phone interview verification and ID scan checks, which will be optional to users.”
He explained that users can verify through Twitter, Facebook, and their phone numbers. “People log into their account and under profile they choose to become verified for as many as they would like. User reviews often help this process to give listers peace of mind that they can trust the people they will rent their bikes to.”
As mentioned above, Spinlister insures your bike for up to £3,000 in the event of it going missing or being damaged.
Clemens sais: “If a bike is ever damaged or stolen, Spinlister mediates the two sides and will always make sure the lister is never left hanging.
“If the bike is stolen, we replace the bike with the same model or a newer model available.
“If something is damaged, the lister simply needs to get a quote from a local bike shop, provide some pictures of the broken parts, and once we've verified everything it'll be taken care of immediately. From beginning to end we try to have the issues resolved within a matter of 24 hours.
“We have a great track record and have built a trusting community that are able to be verified through our security measures, so we can guarantee that listers are 100% protected.”
Spinlister also has measures in place to make sure bikes offered are in decent shape, and to remove them from the system if they’re not.
Clemens said: “Before a renter takes a bike, they are able to view the condition before they make a commitment. Spinlister has a requirement for all listers to post real images of their bikes and these provide verification of the quality before a renter decides to actually rent.
“When the renter picks up the bike, they are obliged to check the bike over, and if if the bike isn’t functional, we will refund the renter and remove that bike from the search results until it’s fixed.”
Clemens says Spinlister indemnifies the bike owner if a renter crashes and blames them.
“The renter agrees to the terms and conditions, therefore waiving the person who listed the bike from any liability. However, this is something that rarely happens on Spinlister thanks to our comprehensive checks.
“If someone gets hurt, they would hold Spinlister liable as we’re the platform they rented from. For damages, we carry a 1 million dollar policy global for every type of equipment rented and offer full support to our user-base.”
It’s an intriguing idea and there are already listings popping up in cycling hotbeds such as London, Cambridge and Bristol. It’s clearly early days for the service, though, with no bikes on offer in Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds for example.
See Spinlister.com to sign up or find out more.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.