I really like riding bikes. So much so that I have more bikes than I can ever use. (Have you ever tried riding more than one bike at a time? It’s really hard.) Seriously, I have two bikes just sitting around in my yard, all sad and neglected. If only there were a service where I could rent them out when I’m not using them!
Soon there will be, as New York City-based Spinlister is two steps ahead of me. It is looking to create a peer-to-peer marketplace for bikes, connecting those who have an excess supply with people who want to ride but aren’t quite ready to own or buy their own two-wheeled vehicles yet. The service, which is in a private beta now, will officially launch in New York City and San Francisco starting April 1.
Spinlister, of course, is part of a larger trend toward collaborative consumption — like what Airbnb is doing for those who wish to rent rooms in their house or even their entire apartments when out of town, or how RelayRides helps users rent their cars while they’re not using them.
Once the site launches, anyone will be able to make his or her bike available for rent. Using Facebook Connect for authentication, Spinlister will let bike renters and bike owners connect to discuss how long a bike will be rented for, and how the thing will be handed off. Like Airbnb and similar services, it will rely on its community to provide ratings — both of the bikes themselves and those who rent them.
While NYC and SF are its launch cities, Spinlister has quietly received interest from all over: Pre-launch, users have listed bikes in 75 different cities and 23 different countries worldwide. The plan is to have a staggered city-by-city rollout based on demand and inventory.
Meanwhile, in its pre-launch period, Spinlister founder Will Dennis has also made his own bike available — it’s a pretty sweet little fixie — and it’s been rented out for 21 days out of the first month that it’s been available.
Granted, he’s cheating a little bit: the Blue Lady Killer, as he calls his bike, is listed for just $1 a day, which is incredibly low by bike rental standards. Other bike owners have been a bit more conservative with their rates, with the average listed rental price running around $20 a day. That’s a fair return for a vehicle that would otherwise just be sitting in someone’s garage, gathering dust — or rust. But it’s still less than half the average bike rental fee for most suppliers in major metropolitan areas.
While Spinlister is offering up a platform for peer-to-peer bike lending, it’s also partnering with the U.S.’s two largest bike rental companies to ensure that it’ll have plenty of inventory when it does go live.
Spinlister is just two guys now — Dennis and his co-founder Jeff Noh. (Jeff’s bike is listed here.) But they’ve raised a $425,000 seed round and are looking to hire an iOS developer to take Spinlister mobile, as well as a Ruby on Rails developer.