Before you rent bikes for you and your family, here are some questions you’ll want to ask the rental shop (before you book):
(1) What size helmets does the shop provide?
First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure there are helmets available for all family members. Just because you’re vacationing doesn’t mean that standard safety practices change. No matter where you travel (including the carribean etc) please book helmets with your bikes.
(2) Ask shop to set aside helmets
Once you’ve confirmed that helmets are available for everyone in your family, you’ll want to make sure there are some options on hand when you arrive to pick up your bikes. We can tell you, from experience, that infant and toddler helmets are rarely kept in large quantity. Most shops only have a few on hand. So if a big family checks in before you do, and take the small sizes, you’ll be out of luck. When you book the rental, call the shop and have them guarantee that they will set aside the small ones the morning you’re expected to arrive.
(3) Confirm the difference between damage and wear-and-tear
Similar to car rentals, a lot of bike rental shops charge a fee for damages. Make sure you assess the bike from all angles and ask them what their policies are on standard wear and tear (think mud, popped tires etc). This isn’t a conversation you want to save for when you’re returning the bike.
(4) Do they offer discounts for multi-day rental?
Nearly ever time we’ve rented bikes (for one day) we always end up calling from our hotel to request to keep them for another day. It’s always in your best interest to negotiate in advance — figure out if you can get a reduced rate on multi-day rentals if you book them in advance. When your bike is due back and you’re calling to extend your contract, the rental shop is technically in the position of power. You have less room to negotiate fees.
(5) Is the cost of the helmet rental included in the overall price?
Some places charge different fees for bikes and helmets.
(6) How much inventory is on-hand?
If a rental shop only has one child-chariot or child bike-seat, you’ll want to ensure that you book a specific model in advance. If you head out on a trip expecting a chariot type seat and you end up with something different, you might not be content. Avoid any miscommunication by confirming details in advance.
(7) What happens in case of emergency?
When you’re cycling around a foreign city, as a tourist, you’ll want to know, in advance, how to handle a popped tired or loose pedal (etc). Before you head out, ask the cycle shop who to call or where to go if you’re bike breaks down in some way. Safety first!
Safe ride, happy travels and enjoy the outdoors!