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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-07-05, 02:06 PM   #1
JohnBrooking
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Renting bikes on business travel?

I will be travelling for business in January, and am looking into renting a bike at my destination instead of a car. I think I've pretty much convinced my company to cover it as a business expense, as long as it's no more expensive than car rental. Of course they are concerned about safety, liablity, and theft issues, but I think we can deal with that.

Following is a suggestion I have just sent to the BetterWorld Club:


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I have a suggestion for a service you could offer. I am a bike commuter, and for the first time, I am looking into bike rental as a transportation option for some business travel I'll be doing, in lieu of car rental. I'm finding that it's fairly research intensive to find bike shops in the area I'm travelling to, call them and see if they rent daily, and compare their rental prices to car rentals (to justify it as a business expense to my company). Then there's the issue of coordinating pickup and dropoff of the bike with flight times and other constraints. Information on public transportation in the area is useful in coordinating all this, so that's yet more research.

If you offered a service to assist setting up bike rentals for business travellers, similar to car rentals, that might be a promising direction for you. Arranging bike pickup and dropoff at the traveller's hotel, for example, would be a huge help. (This would be better than right at the airport, since most hotels have shuttles to and from the airport anyway, so pedaling to and from the airport would just be redundant and require more time, which becomes valuable when you have a flight to catch just a few hours after your training class ends.) Information on bike paths, bike-friendly roads, and local bike shops would be very useful to have. Information about other public transportation options that can accomodate bikes would also add value.

There in a fair number of bike commuters already in this country, and there will no doubt more as gas prices rise, as they will do again before too long. I think this might be an interesting option for you to pursue. Thanks for your consideration.
I'd be interested in hearing reaction to this idea from people on this forum.

(Disclaimer: My family is not completely car-free, but I'm proud to say that I have plans to pass on my personal car to someone else within the week, so we will be a one-car family (two adults and two children) very soon! )
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Old 12-07-05, 03:32 PM   #2
randya
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I've both rented bicycles while travelling and researched the availability and cost of doing so. You will likely have more success finding bicycle rentals at some destinations than at others. And you might be surprised that 24 hour bike rentals can cost as much or more than car rentals. My advise is to get a good folding bike to take with you, the type of folder will likely depend on what sort of riding you expect to do at your destination. For in-town use only, I went with a Strida, and traveled through Spain and France by air and train for three weeks with it last year, and was very glad to have it. If you want to do more touring / distance riding, a Bike Friday or equivalent might be more to your liking.
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Old 12-07-05, 04:26 PM   #3
JohnBrooking
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Yes, I was surprised to find out the cost, too. One place was only $35/day ($500 deposit), but the other was going with $75/day, until I told them that the car rental would only be $40/day. But the latter was prepared to drop off and pick up at my hotel, which I pretty much needed due to timing.

I starting a similar thread to this in Commuting, about how I found out shortly after posting this that I would not be able to take it as a business expense, which probably kills it for me. Seems my company excludes motorcycles as a legitimate mode of business transportation, and the person communicating this said that probably bicycles would be viewed the same way. Someone else then suggested a folder, which I think is a great idea. But probably not in time.
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Old 12-07-05, 05:32 PM   #4
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for the longer term, i'd suggest looking into a folding bike to take with you, unless it would present untenable luggage problems. Bike Friday can do one up, or you can customize a much cheaper Dahon using equipment acquired from Gaerlan Cycles.
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Old 12-08-05, 10:54 AM   #5
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You might try http://www.bikes4rent.com/cgi-bin/search.pl.

They offer connections for bike rentals around the country. I tried them once, but my time frame was too short. I waited till the very last minute. But check it out, it may be what you are looking for.
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