It seems like it is difficult to ship a bike by air, and yet many would like to have a bike to tour on when they arrive at a destination. Could someone make a go of renting touring bikes?
Question1- Is there a market for touring bike rentals? An important subquestion is how many rentals and of what duration could a shop expect? How seasonal would the business be.
Question 2- What kind of bike would make a good rental?
My initial thought is something moderately sturdy along the lines of the Fuji touring or Novara Randonee would work, but maybe that is to expensive a bike, or not expensive enough. Such a bike would have to be maintained, and the sturdiness of components could become an issue. Maybe a purpose-built bike would do better.
Question 3- What kinds of services should such a rental business offer?
Certain lines of business are obvious, like sales of bicycles, maps and accessories, plus some food. Others could include baggage storage. Obviously also, sales of products that commuters could use would be a good thing.
Question 4- How should the bikes be equipped?
I think sturdy racks are a necessity. Stock racks on bikes like the two mentioned above and some less expensive racks may not be sturdy enough, but on the other hand, if bikes would get abused, then inexpensive stuff is easier to replace.
Question 5- How much should rentals cost, and why?