New bike rental programs aim to show Cedar Rapids 'better seen' by bicycle

Hall Bicycle and Goldfinch Cyclery offering rental programs

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Visitors to Cedar Rapids are turning to new bike rental programs as a way to explore the City of Five Seasons and beyond, local bike shop staff say.

Hall Bicycle Co., 419 Second Ave. SE in downtown, launched a bike rental program last week joining Goldfinch Cyclery, 1120 Second St. SE in the NewBo District, which started testing the waters with rentals at the beginning of the summer.

“The biggest thing was demand,” said Kyle Moscrip, a manager at Hall. “Each year we get more and more calls about whether we did rentals.”

Moscrip and Logan Orcutt, owner of Goldfinch, said people visiting the area on business or to see family are the biggest market.

“It’s mostly people from out of town,” Orcutt said. “This city is better seen and better enjoyed by bicycle.”

Goldfinch, which is relocating two doors down on Oct. 1 to 208 12th Ave. NE, has seen strong interest. Last weekend they rented out all 10 bikes available, Orcutt said.

The biggest customer segment has been visitors, but they also rent to locals looking to explore the trail system and one for RAGBRAI in July, he said.

“We see a lot of people who come from out of town for the weekend and want to explore the city,” Orcutt said. “Someone came last weekend from Canada for a wedding and biked to Iowa City and back.”

At Hall, Moscrip envisions a similar customer, with perhaps more business travelers with the DoubleTree Hotel so close, and others without bikes who want to get out on a beautiful day. People considering getting into biking also may want to try out a bike for a day or two before making the investment, he said. In the case renters wind up buying a bike within 30 days, they can get their fee credited to the purchase price, he said.

The outline of the two rental programs are similar.

Hall stocks 13, 24-speed Trek FX2 model hybrid bikes in every size class. The rate is $30 for 24 hours and it includes a helmet. An additional package, which could include a bike lock and lights, is under consideration, Moscrip said.

“It’s a fitness hybrid that is more pavement oriented,” Moscrip said. “But it has wider, heavy duty tires good for crushed limestone trails.”

Rentals and store hours are available online at HallBicycle.com/rentals.

Goldfinch carries 10 Torker Meridian model hybrid fitness bikes in all size classifications. The rental comes with a lock, helmet, lights and trail map for $20 a day or $80 a week, Orcutt said.

Rentals must be made in store, although Orcutt said he is setting up an online checkout that should be available this fall. More information is available at GoldfinchCyclery.com/rentals.

In Iowa City, World of Bikes and University of Iowa Outdoor Rental Center offer bike rentals as well.

Moscrip and Orcutt both said they are still testing the water with the bike rental programs and they could expand offerings or make changes. For example, both said they are planning to begin offering fat tire bike rentals later this year.

As for the competition, both agreed having two rental programs is a good thing for the community and business.

“The more options the better,” Moscrip said. “The more people on bikes is good in our book.”

Orcutt added, “There’s definitely room for both.”

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