I have foolish dreams of pedaling to used bookstores and coffeeshops on June afternoons
May 24, 2012 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Is there anywhere in the SF Bay Area where I could rent a bicycle long term?

All I've ever seen are the shops that cater to tourists and charge by the hour. I'll only be in San Francisco for two and a half months and would love to be able to bike around, but I'm not really in the market to buy one since the city where I usually live isn't particularly bike friendly. Does this kind of service exist or should I just cough up the money and get a cheap bicycle on craigslist? Thanks!
posted by erstwhile ungulate to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
You could buy a used bike for less than the cost of a rental. If the bike is stolen, you're only out the cost of a used beater. If you were to rent, you'd be on the hook for the loss. At the end of your stay, you could sell the bike again, getting some money back.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I would just buy one and then re-sell it.
posted by exogenous at 1:29 PM on May 24, 2012

You might call one of our smaller shops that sells used bikes on consignment (Box Dog Bikes or Refried Cycles, just to name two off the top of my head) and ask them about your situation - if you buy something from them they may be willing to help you sell it again at the end of your stay. FWIW I've bought bikes & parts from both shops and they are good people.
posted by gyusan at 1:52 PM on May 24, 2012

If you buy a used bike and take care of it, the market value of it shouldn't decrease at all in two and a half months. I mean, you may lose money after two months since you'll have to get rid of it quickly, but there's chance you could sell it for the exact same price (or even more!)
posted by thewumpusisdead at 2:16 PM on May 24, 2012

I've done this several times, although never in San Francisco. Buy a bike, use it for 2 months, then sell it on craigslist. In a city the size of SF, you can sell a bike in newish in a few hours if you only ask for 75-80% of retail. If you are able to find a used bike on craigslist and get a good deal, it's possible to make money on the deal. Much better than rentals, which are really only targeting daily or weekend use.
posted by skewed at 3:04 PM on May 24, 2012

Campus Bike Shop at Stanford does a lot of business in summer intern bike rentals; it's $210 for the summer and you can get there via Caltrain. Their hours are terrible.

Buying a used bike and reselling it on Craigslist is a fine idea, too.
posted by asphericalcow at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

What sort of bicycle do you want?

Crazily enough, when I was looking into a one-week rental a few months ago, I found that the cheapest option also got me the nicest bike. Undiscovered Country Tours will rent you a 2010 Scott Addict R1 (carbon frame and fork, full Ultegra groupset, Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels) for $120 a week. For a longer-term rental like ten weeks at a time, the owner may offer you a discount. But keep in mind that you're paying at least half the street value of the bike only to hand it back after ten weeks.
posted by d. z. wang at 2:00 AM on May 25, 2012

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