Business took me to LA recently. I saw that Santa Monica had numerous bike rental shops, figured I'd have a nice day with some great scenery. Not so easy.
Every place I went to wanted to physically retain both my credit card and my drivers license. I'm sure the vast majority of people willing to comply with that have no problems. But potential horror scenario's include identity theft, cards being misplaced (how do you get on the airplane home without a DL?), card usage (you could buy a car with my credit limit), cards being stolen while the attendant is outside working with customers, etc. Plus, what if I NEED my DL and CC during the day. Anyway, I just won't do it. I understand the bike shop has to protect themselves from theft, and I'd be perfectly fine with them pre-authorizing a $1000 charge on my card for security, then canceling it when I return the bike. I've rented many tools and other items that way.
The question - is this the norm around the country, or specific to the tourist joints like Santa Monica? I don't need a high end bike, just something servicable to do 10-15 miles on, take in a little local flavor, and offset all those sportsbar meals I eat on the road. I travel all over the US, but LA, Dallas (Plano), Chicago and Winston-Salem are my most frequent destinations.
Any bike rental experiences or recommendations?
***ouch, mispelled bicycle in the topic on my very first post. An inauspicious start.