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  1. #1
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    Suggetions for a Bike Rental Business

    I am brand new to this site and am looking for opinons, suggetions and anything else.
    I recently moved to a resort town in Ontario called Wasaga Beach. I'll give a little background. It is unique in that the population of 16 000 is confined between 14km of beautiful sandy shoreline and a rather large Provincial park..set back a few kms, creating a very linear infrastructure that sees 2 000 000 visitors in the summer. The traffic can be so bad that it can take up to an hour to go a few blocks and many cottages are a far walk to the beach. The terrain is relatively flat and there is an extensive trail system. Thats where my entrepeneurial mind got the best of me.
    I am proposing a trike rental business. My aim is to rent trikes to families for the day or week. Trikes are ideal as the family can load the back with beach items and/or child or use it for errands and sightseeing.
    Some of my ideas are:
    1-After arriving at the beach, one can remove the seat post and insert an umbrella.
    2-Securing a safe to put items in when in the water.
    3-Adapting the rear basket area for a fold-out lounger, child seat or possibly a bench to mimic a rickshaw for additional riders.
    If anybody has any creative ideas, opinons or things I should consider please reply....I've been working as Psychiatric RN for 15 years and really want this to work so I can live like Jimmy Buffet...lol.
    I have two trikes ordered from ebay to do market research....the $269 ones if you care to look. I considered Pedicabs but I don't know if the weight would be family-friendly. Can anybody comment? I think a Pedicab business would work here too but I don't know about specific bylaws...I do know Canada is full of them.
    Thanks in advance for your input,
    Paul

  2. #2
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    BTW- As far as suggetions, the wackier/unique the better. I want people to notice them.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Interesting idea.

    I think they have an invitation-only industry forum here- see if you can contact one of the moderators.

    My random thoughts on it all:

    Be sure and try riding the trikes on the sand. It might work great or might not, depending on how loose it is. For rental, you'd probably want something a lot heavier-duty than what you're buying.

    Worksman (and some others) sell reverse trike ice-cream-carts that actually come with an umbrella. I'm sure they could mount an umbrella on a reverse-trike delivery trike (which just has a big cabinet) as well. But trying to ride with one of these might be a challenge where you have numerous trees or when it's windy. If it's windy enough, they could probably blow right over while unattended. But the delivery-trikes with a big box would work great for storing your stuff while at the beach. www.worksmancycles.com I would not have them remove the seat, just have a separate post mount for the umbrella.

    The reverse tricycles look a lot cooler than the normal "granny cycles" (what somebody else called them). But they do cost more and are tippier.

    On the adult tricycles, you can also get several different brands of "industrial" tricyle or even quadracycle. You can also get surreys which are intended for the rental market. All the trikes are intended for 1-person only unless they're a pedicab. Seems like I've read that the surreys are more for novelty use, like the pedal bumper-boats they rent, and don't work that well as transportation.

    You can get pedicab trailers that mount to a regular bicycle. Perhaps mount one of those behind a granny trike.

    For the application you describe, pedicab rentals might actually work pretty well, and would be more fun to rent than the trikes (assuming you mean to just rent them out and not operate a service). Downside: Good ones are expensive, and the bigger they are, the harder it is to run them down bike paths or beside road traffic. Also, just one person pedals, so that one person better be a good cyclist or they're not going far.

    They have some European pedicabs with semi-enclosed compartment that would look cool. Blow-over in the wind would still be an issue, as would cost.

    Bakfiets would be another option. Carry two people or an adult and a couple of kids plus some junk. I've never ridden one, so don't know if there's any special skill to be learned. And they are expensive.

    The Worksman and some of the other heavy-duty stuff is all good sturdy steel, but steel and beaches are not an ideal combination due to eventual rust.

    How long is the "beach season" there? A short season would make it harder to recover your costs.

    If you contact some of these manufacturers, ask them for any references in your general area. This might let you go try one of the vehicles without buying, also let you talk to the owners and see what they think of them.

    You can store a bunch of bikes in a garage. But pedicabs take up a lot of room to store.

    I remember seeing a post on Craigslist where someone was running a bike rental business somewhere in the US. During the offseason, their storage place was broken into and all the bikes stolen. So don't forget to add insurance (including liability) into your costs.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your input. These are the kind of things i want to hear. To answer some of your questions. The beach season here is 3 months long. I have considered this already for recouping costs. Fortunately Canada is that short of nurses that i can generally choose when i want to work. The beach is on Georgian Bay-part of lake huron so i don't have to worry about rust. its fresh water beach. as for riding on the sand. my intent is that they access the beach from the boardwalk or main strip only to park it. i can barely ride my mountain bike on this sand, its that fine and loose.

  5. #5
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    This is a fascinating idea...I can't add much to StephenH's reply, though.

    Oh, but I can say, Welcome to BikeForums!

    East Hill
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  6. #6
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    Look for big balloon tires for the drive wheels. Considering the wheels will be mounted outside the frame ala trike style, you could go with those big huge balloon sand tires at least in the rear.. a thin one in the front would still allow you to steer.

    How about an electric assist? Kits are around 500 bux... a little electric power might really help tourists with no leg muscles get through the sand and up inclines (inclines aren't as easy in trikes) and many states (dunno about provinces) dont treat electric bikes any differently than normal ones.


    This might be an obvious question but does the beach have any rules about riding bikes on it? They won't let you do that on all but the most remote NJ beaches...then again thats the Jersey shore, you're talking about Canada where the entire population is roughly equal to the weekend population of Seaside.

  7. #7
    Senior Member los buenos's Avatar
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    this being the alt bikes forum i would go to the dump and look for trashed new schwinn stingray choppers with fat wheels in the back and make a beach trike out of those
    proudly, Brimley, Michigan's only resident freak-biker

  8. #8
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obes99 View Post
    BTW- As far as suggetions, the wackier/unique the better. I want people to notice them.
    Recall PPVs? Those side-by-side trikes with a body (early '70s) would be great now!

    countersTrike

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the input, its exactly what I was looking for. How about this?
    I'm thinking of taking the front wheel off of one of the trikes and ataching it to the back of the other one to make a tandem. I found this on lightfoot cycles site.
    paul

    In response to an earlier post. I own an electric converted mountain bike. I don't think it would be practical to rent ebikes...as much as I know the novelty factor. I'd need an arsenal of batteries, likely a new one every two hours.
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  10. #10
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countersTrike View Post
    Recall PPVs? Those side-by-side trikes with a body (early '70s) would be great now!

    countersTrike
    http://according-to-e.blogspot.com/2...pedal-car.html
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Falchoon's Avatar
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    I'd be really concerned in these days of litigation that someone would take a tumble off one of the bikes and sue you. If people can sue because they spilled hot coffee on themselves at McDonalds then a bike wreck lawsuit is a distinct possibility. There was another thread in one of the other areas of the forum a while back with someone else that wanted to start a bike rental business, can't recall now where it was exactly.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

  12. #12
    peaced out deez's Avatar
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    FWIW i rented a Tandem in San Fransisco last summer and If anything I'd think that of all bikes (excepting maybe a pennyfarthing) a Tandem is the best chance for inexperienced riders to take a spill. **** the same place also rented Segways...

    i guess they have insurance...you kinda gotta.

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    Not to be a killjoy but I'd say no to trikes, ebikes, and hauling a trike with a trike especially.
    First thing is that trike are fairly wide, they may really clog up the trail system and limit where people can go, but you know the area and I don't but keep it in mind. Ebikes are harder to maintain and I doubt being on the sand and near (or in) the water would make that any better. And lastly, absolutely do no haul the trike on the back of the trike. You personally can for moving the trike around, but never rent them out like that. If you put too much weight on the back, it could break the fork clip or up-end the front bike. It would also make the hard to handle trike even harder. You really don't want to create that huge liability for yourself.

    I would consider xtracycles, (which includes the surly big dummy, kona ute, and yuba mondo). these would carry some of the same liabilities, as in handling that takes some getting used to when hauling someone on the back. They would also cost a lot up front. As an owner or an xtracycle, I'm very pleased.
    Last edited by mastershake916; 06-03-08 at 12:47 PM.

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