Spinlister = Airbnb for Bikes

Do you ever rent bikes on vacation? We’re addicted. You can explore neighborhoods in a fun, breezy way, and you feel like a local. One of my all-time favorite memories is biking home from dinner in Paris, late at night, and passing Notre Dame, towering above us, all lit up. Magical.

But! The catch is that rental bikes can be surprisingly expensive. They can cost as much as $50/day, and for two people, that adds up very quickly.

So, I was thrilled to discover Spinlister. Basically, it’s airbnb for bikes. You rent bikes from their owners for low rates, typically between $10 and $20 per day.

(For example, I put in our Manhattan zip code and found tons of options, including this cute orange vintage bike for $10/day or $50/week. Amazing!!! Way better than paying $350/week, which is what our neighborhood bike shop would charge.)

Yay, Spinlister! Will you use them?

P.S. Toby on a bike, and bike rush hour.

(Top photo by the Sartorialist)

  1. How amazing! Very excited about this!

  2. I just got back from Paris last week. My brother and I got 1 week subscriptions to Velib, their bike share program. It’s only 8 euros for a week! So if you are looking for something economical in Pairs, I think that is your best bet.

    However, we both got a bit annoyed with Velib by the end because sometimes bike stations would be empty when you needed one or full when you needed to dock one or your bike would break. (One time I lost an entire pedal in the middle of biking to the L’Orangerie.) So we agreed next time to rent personal bikes for a week. Hopefully by the time we go back to Paris, this program will have sprung up there so we can skip the headaches of a bike share program.

  3. You are beautiful.I like your bike in the first picture in the article.Could you send its other photographs to me?Thank you very much.

  4. I love this idea, and think that biking around a city is an amazing thing- especially a city one is vacationing in. But- these programs always make me nervous, because it means people are riding around without helmets on- which are vital in cities like NY and SF.

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  7. This is awesome! I put an want ad on craigslist asking to rent a vintage bike for the picture on the right. I was overwhelmed when I got a response from a guy willing to let me borrow his for free! I offered to leave a deposit of some kind and he waved me off. I am sure you could do the same in another city if you couldn’t find one on this site.

  8. Steph says...

    We have a cheap bixi bike rental scheme in my city, so it’s not an issue here, but depending on how long I’m going to be in a place, I just buy a second-hand bike that is good enough, and then resell it or give it away when I leave. Still, the personal rental thing is a good idea if you want something more specific.

  9. What a wonderful idea! Bike shares can be a bit expensive, this is a great alternative :)

  10. I would not have thought about renting a bike on vacation. This is something that I will have to try.:] Thanks for the idea!

  11. So awesome! come to London!

  12. thank you for that great tip! I’m a biking fanatic and I’m moving to Lisbon soon (where I presume they don’t have bike racks like here in Norway).

  13. Hi Joanna,
    Come to Copenhagen! There is a free bike rental program. You just put 20 Danish Kroner (the equivalent of about $4)in and you can take the bike and ride all over the city. When you return it, you get your 20 kroner back. It is a great system. My husband and I and our 2 kids moved here 2 years ago from the US and we don’t have a car and bike everywhere. It is such a fun city!

  14. What a fab idea. I can’t wait to try out some new bikes in SF.

    Are you coming here on holiday soon or did you change your mind?? I’d be ridiculously excited if I bumped into you.

    Now I sound crazy.

  15. Anonymous says...

    Yeah, I would use them. Have you heard about the same thing people are staring to do with their cars now?

  16. We wanted to rent a bike during our New York trip to explore Brooklyn but it costs $45 per day near to our hotel! If only I knew of your recommendation earlier! Boo!

  17. I’m so absolutely doing this next time I travel. Exploring a city by bike seems like the best way to do it, and I can’t believe I never thought of it until now! This company sounds absolutely brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

  18. This is a really cool idea! The best part is getting to ride a unique bike, instead of whatever crappy hybrid most bike rental places offer. I’m not sure I would be willing to rent out my own bikes, though! Those are my babies. :)

  19. Joanna, as part of your redesign, could you buy and redirect? : )

    Just kidding, you don’t have to! But seriously, I go there accidentally all the time and see the most boring landing page of all time.

  20. There are bike-sharing facilities in a lot of big cities.

    Boston has hubway (
    NYC is getting citibike (
    DC has capital (
    Canada has bixi

    They are about $5/day (the first 30 minutes are free, after that it’s about $1-$8/hr). There are tons of stations everywhere so I just “re-dock” them every 30 minutes and take it out so that I don’t pay more than $5/day! It’s super convenient and best of all – you don’t have to worry about having your bike stolen.

    Also – there’s lots of apps (I use spotcycle) that tell you where the closest bike station is, how many bikes are available etc.

    don’t forget to wear a helmet while riding!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this! I wish I knew when I was in Europe. Will note for the future!

  22. That pictures are awesome! :) Have a nice day

  23. This is such a great idea! I wish I had known about it while in New York a couple of weeks ago!


  24. That’s fantastic! I wonder if it is all over the world! What a great idea! We’re heading to Hawaii in October and I’d love to borrow a bike to get around!

  25. i wonder what the rules are about renting a nice bike, taking it to burning man and returning it with no more paint and dust in every part of the gears…

  26. I have to give this to my son. He lives in NYC.
    For now, it will be great for them to just rent / do the bnb thing rather than try to find somewhere to put 2 bicycles in a postage stamp apartment :)

  27. when my mom came to visit me in amsterdam during my time abroad i refused to let her ride around a bright red “rental” bike but knew she would need a bike to use. i found a second-hand store that sold bikes and worked a deal with the owner. we bought the bike for the price listed (maybe 120 euros), and if i returned it at the end of the week he would give me half of my money back! after doing the math it ended up being less than it would have cost us to rent one, and she was able to ride around a old, traditional dutch bike for a week.

    i love the idea of renting someone’s personal bike!

  28. This is brilliant…we rented [relatively inexpensive] bikes in Berlin, and it was an amazing way to get around…we ended up finding amazing beer gardens, a cultural festival and so many quiet parks on our travels. It was the best way to see the city!

  29. aw yeah! this is awesome. I’ll definately use this when im in NY again. :) thanks for the word joanna!

  30. good to know they will be expanding! what a rad service, and so handy. YEAH for inexpensive solutions to being on the road. thanks for sharing, Jo! xo.

  31. I don’t actually ride much, but this would give me enough motivation to buy a bike even if I only rode it sometimes, I could rent it out when I wasn’t using it. :)

    Shame they aren’t available in my city. :/

  32. hopefully will come to London, I have a bike to rent out :D

  33. Great idea! Hope they expand everywhere.
    Speaking of renting from owners directly…do you know if there is anything like this for cars?

    Since we’re in nyc and no car, even when doing a smartcar for a day trip can be quite pricey. This for cars would be nice. Though I think there may be insurance issues?

    Since you can find out anything, Joanna, perhaps let us know if you hear abt it. :)


  34. This is such a fantastic idea! I’m really hoping that they pop up in Minneapolis and Chicago, too!

  35. Anonymous says...

    I wrote them about expanding to Rio de Janeiro, where I live. It would be awesome to have this here. Thank you for the great tip!

  36. LOVE AirBnB and now going to have to look into this! Great ideas!

  37. Love This idea! I hope one day it will exist something like that in Spain!

  38. Awesome finding! Love exploring new cities on a bike! xoxo

  39. I will totally bookmark this! Another downside to renting bikes from a shop is that they often have gigantic signs on them advertising the shop – and screaming to the world that you are a tourist. (this is especially true in Amsterdam.)

  40. Anonymous says...

    and speaking of bicycles…

    you’ve probably already seen this, but if by chance you haven’t:

  41. Anonymous says...

    How do you deal with traffic while riding a bike on vacation? I’d imagine it’s pretty daunting in a city like Paris. How is it in NYC?

  42. This looks like a great idea! I’m awful at bike riding but this really would encourage me to try it out a bit more!

    Abi x

  43. This is such a rad idea! I plan to come to NYC very soon and this would be a great way to bike through the city! Thanks for sharing! xo

  44. I agree, exploring a city in a bike is much more open and relaxing than driving in a car around a neighborhood. You can observe so much on a bike!

  45. I don’t have a car–I ride my bike all over the beautiful Austin, TX! It’s such a fabulous, healthy way to get around, plus I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic! We have a ton of bike trails and bike lanes which also makes it easier. I bet it’s a great idea in New York for sure!

  46. That is a fantastic idea!!!! Renting bikes is very expensive but I love doing it too.


  48. This is a bigger leap of faith than letting someone use your apartment, to me. I’d totally do it (and I’ve used AirBnB before in Belgium and had an amazing time) but I’m honest enough not to ride away and never come back, haha.

  49. Alycia says...

    A lot of airBnB folks offer bikes in their rentals! I went to Scandinavia this spring and only stayed at places that had bikes included. It saved a lot of money and hassle and was so much fun!

  50. If you stay in the US at Kimpton Hotels they have Free Bike rental at all of their properties.

    The RiverPlace in Portland Oregon loan out these cute Linus Cruisers! It is the best way to explore the city.

  51. I love your story of riding your bikes in Paris after dinner. I have such good memories of riding bikes as a kid and need to remember to do it more as an adult. I hope this website expands soon! I’m sure it will- it’s a great idea. Thank you for sharing!

  52. Anonymous says...

    This is a really great idea and a nice way to earn $50 when you aren’t using your bike! Fantastic.

  53. alicia abood says...

    hi joanna! when johnny and i traveled to montreal last month, we rented bikes through the bixi system and it was amazing. i believe we rented 2 bikes for 72 hours for 30 bucks. such an amazing program and the city is so bike-friendly. you guys MUST take a long weekend up there at some point!! xo.

  54. they’re currently only in New York and San Francisco, but they have plans to expand quickly. so awesome!!