With more and more commuters returning to the office, is your business ready for the return of bike to work rentals?
Back In The Saddle
As life begins to get back to normal, more and more people are starting to return to their weekly commute. For many, this will include the use of a bike. Cycling to work is one of the most popular modes of transportation, especially for those who live or work in a city. Around 4% of all commuter journeys in England are taken by bike, which is more than by motorcycle or by walking. This means the bike to work market presents an incredible opportunity for your business.
If you don’t already, it may be time to consider long term rentals to make the most of this opportunity. But what should you consider when looking to enter this market?
Bike To Work – Why Do People Do It?
For those who live or work in a city, a significant factor for deciding to bike to work is convenience. Many cities such as London and Manchester have invested money into providing safe and direct routes for cyclists. These routes mean that for those on a bike in the busy centres of cities, you are able to avoid the traffic, completing your journey faster than if you had gone by car or by bus.
For those who live outside of a city and commute, some bikes combine very well with trains. This flexibility allows commuters to get from A-B effortlessly wherever their journey takes them.
Helping the environment
For those with a strong eco-conscious, the choice to bike to work provides an excellent, green mode of transportation. Driving a car emits around 271g per kilometre (or 186g per mile) of CO2. In a city like London, a lot of time is spent in traffic. It has been estimated that it will contribute an extra 25,831 kg of CO2 on average over the lifetime of the vehicle.
By comparison, the only fuel used by someone cycling is the food they consume. Based on the average European diet this is equal to 16g of CO2 per kilometre (or 11g per mile) cycled. It’s important to note that that number is based on a diet with a high volume of meat. For those who consume a plant-based diet, that number will be lower.
Choosing to bike to work is also gentler on the wallet. Though there are expenses involved with choosing to cycle to work, these are far lower than those associated with a car. These are reduced further with cycle to work schemes which help make cycling to work even more financially beneficial.
Health and wellbeing
One of the many things that covid has taught us over the last 15months it’s that looking after your physical and mental health is vital. Cycling is a great way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle. It is low impact, so it won’t cause pain to the joints and by making it part of a daily commuting routine, it is easier to stick to.
Getting from A to B
When customers enter your store looking for a bike to commute on, they may not know exactly what to look for or what type of bikes are available and best for their journey.
The first thing is to determine what type of commute your customer is going to use their bike for. Is the commute completed fully on a bike from start to finish, or is there a train or bus ride involved at some point? Knowing the requirements of the journey will allow you to understand their needs better and choose the best bike to meet them.
You should also ensure you take their measurements so you can look at the right size bike and can make any adjustments. Once you know the measurements you can look into different commuter bike options.
Your customer is likely to want something comfortable to ride and is able to handle different types of weather conditions. After all, they are likely to use this bike to cycle to work every day.
A hybrid bike is a great bike to consider for these commuters. A mixture between road and mountain bikes, hybrid bikes will be able to meet most requirements thrown at them during an average commute. There are many different styles of hybrid bike – some are closer to mountain bikes, with suspension and wide tires, whilst others have slim tyres and are effectively road bikes with flat handlebars. It comes down to your customer’s preference, journey type and terrain requirements.
Another great option is the electric bike. With a rechargeable battery and a motor to help move you along, e-bikes can help take the stress out of longer riders and give some support on inclines. This makes them a great option for those looking to bike to work with many hills along the way, are new to cycling or just want a little help.
If there is an additional mode of transport being used in the commute, a folding bike is a great option. Folding bikes do exactly as the name suggests; fold up. This makes them ideal for taking onto trains and buses and allows the commuter maximum flexibility in their journey. Consider why they are folding the bike and the journey on either side to help you recommend wheel size. Bigger wheels will go faster but will lead to a bulker folded bike, not great for those busy London Underground tube rides! Electric fold up bikes offer a great combination for someone with multiple needs.
Preparing For Bike To Work Customers
You should consider whether you have an adequate stock of commuter-friendly bikes. You should also ensure the stock you do have has gone through maintenance to ensure they are ready to hit the road. Some commuters may not have too much knowledge when it comes to bikes, so they will rely on your expertise. Be open and informative. This will help make your customers feel comfortable and will help build trust.
Another consideration is keeping your selection of bikes updated and easily accessible online. Take advantage of great photo’s and descriptive text to give your customers as much information as possible about the bikes available.
Making the process to edit, order and pay online is also a great way to convert potential customers. Be sure to identify which cycles are available and which are not clearly and regularly. No one wants to be disappointed. Bike Rental Manager’s rental software has tools for all of the above built-in. Making these processes quicker and easier.
As mentioned previously, one of the reasons commuters choose to cycle to work is the personal economic benefits. This could provide you with an opportunity to appeal to this desire. Could you offer a discount on monthly work rentals for example? Encourage People to repeatedly hire a bike Monday – Friday for the month at a lower rate. Could renting the bike go towards an option to buy at the end of an agreed term (with money removed to reflect the rental). Explore the options and see if they work for your business.
How Can Bike Rental Manager Help You?
We hope that this blog for the return of bike to work has got you thinking about the opportunities within the commuter rental market, the needs of the customer and ideas on what you can do to reach these customers and offer a successful bike to work rental programme.
At Bike Rental Manager, we provide cycling shops with a fantastic all-in-one solution that enables your business to leverage smart insights and manage time, money and rentals efficiently.
For more information on our software, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
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