MinnPost: As the snow melts, the metro area gets ready for its most bike-friendly spring yet

….Another fresh approach comes from the newly created Velolet, an online system that allows bicycle owners to rent their bikes to individuals. (Read our story about the venture here.) Founder Dan Cleary thought of the idea while trying to find bikes while traveling. “Cycling is becoming the new golf,” he says. “It’s the thing to do. There’s such a positive, growing community here that it’s not hard to feel excited about being part of it all.”

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Tucson Pedaler: Bike firm finds value in renting through site

An online bicycle rental opportunity has proven beneficial for Tri-Sports.com, the Tucson-based business specializing in triathlon equipment and training.

“It’s been good for both of us,” said Tri-Sports.com retail manager Erik Jacobsen of his company’s partnership with Velolet.com and its founder, Dan Cleary

“We’ve been able to give constructive feedback for him to improve the website experience for the retailer and consumer,” Jacobsen said. “At the same time, it’s been fantastic for us. It takes the manual process and the hard work out.”

For Tri-Sports.com, “maintaining a consistent revenue stream with our rental bikes” is challenging, Jacobsen said. “Velolet approached us with an innovative new solution.”

People who search the velolet.com site for bike rentals in Tucson can find bikes in Tri-Sports.com’s 14-cycle fleet.  “People could sort of cut us out of the mix” with regard to waivers, paperwork and details, he continued.

“For the customer, it’s great,” Jacobsen said. “They can reserve the bike and know it’s theirs. It’s great for us, because we no longer involve manual processes.” Velolet cuts the customer’s pick-up time, too. “We get the bikes prepared and ready to go.”

Tri-Sports.com is looking to expand its fl eet. Rental bikes are a good cash source for Tri-Sports, Jacobsen said. “Manufacturers cut retailers a decent deal on the bike, and we recoup that as revenue. Those bikes have been rented out enough to where it’s been financially good for us.”

Velolet.com has “exposed us a bit more to the road crowd, especially from out of town,” Jacobsen said. Visiting cyclists who want to climb Mount Lemmon can go to the site, and find a rental available at Tri-Sports.com.

Families are fi guring out the benefit, too, Jacobsen said. He’d just worked with a couple from Canada coming to Tucson for a family vacation, and seeking cycles. “They don’t have to worry about packing their bike up, and spending how many hundreds of dollars to ship their bikes here,” he said.

Tucson Pedaler: New Site Hooks Up Cyclists, Bike Rentals

SNOW-WEARY Minnesota cyclist Dan Cleary, discouraged by the price of shipping a bicycle via commercial airline, was looking at a vacation real estate rental website when struck by an idea.

Cleary wondered – “why can’t we have a mechanism where people can list their own bikes? I’ve got six of them, that Mrs. Cleary knows about, in my basement. Why can’t I list those out? That’s where the idea evolved.”

Cleary founded Velolet, Inc., a company whose website Velolet.com allows the meeting of “renters,” those who want to rent a good, well-fitted bicycle in a distant place, and “listers,” businesses and individuals alike who have wheels to share. Earlier this year, the site went live, and the response has been encouraging.

Cleary, a cyclist for 20 years, considers himself “the classic customer” on both sides of the equation.

“The cyclist renting the bike gets what they want, and the cyclist listing their bike earns some money, of course to spend on more bike stuff,” he said.

To get velolet.com rolling, Cleary had to navigate potholes. He wanted a secure, trusted process for renters and listers alike. There’s a checklist of requirements for the transaction to occur. A confirmation number, held by a credit card, protects both parties.

“You have to cover all the bases,” Cleary said. “We’ve got a pretty solid model here. This works for people.”

The renter pays a 9 percent service fee to Velolet, on top of the rental price. The lister pays an 8.4 percent liability insurance fee for $1 million in coverage.

“We had to provide liability coverage, not only for ourselves, but also for an individual or bike shop for renting out that bike,” Cleary said. “That’s a key piece. You’ve just been protected. That covers the costs we have to pay for the liability insurance we have as a blanket insurance.”

Listing is free, he emphasizes.

“It’s free to list. It’s free, it’s free, it’s free,” Cleary said. “There’s no cost to register and put that stuff out there. It takes some time, that’s your cost.”

Through a listing, “maybe you won’t get a rental; you never know,” he said. “Maybe someone’s brother-in-law is in town, and you’ve rented that out. It’s only a couple times a year, but that still could be a couple hundred dollars that’s otherwise not going to be there.

“It’s one of those grassroots-type of things,” he said. “Go ahead; there’s no charge to list it.”

Listers set their own rates and availability of cycles. Among Tucson listings, bikes typically rent for $50 or $75 a day, and about $150 a week. “The market will clear itself,” Cleary reasons.

He believes Velolet is “good for the entire industry. Instead of people putting $200 into the airline industry, they’re putting $200 into the bicycle industry.”

When velolet.com launched, Cleary “thought of all the great places to cycle when it’s wintertime,” and Tucson came to mind. He cold-called Tri-Sports.com, which bought in. “They’ve done pretty well (see related story).”

Cleary predicts that, “in the bigger cities, with bigger cycling communities, you’re going to see bike shops perform a little better. People feel secure and safe, going to a bike shop.” Bicycle shops also have a large quantity of different bikes they can list right away.

“Individuals are going to really fill in an area that may be underserved,” especially rural communities, he believes. “Individuals will supplement the inventory that may not be available outside the major cities. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

A few months in, Cleary is “happy with the progress. I obviously would love to have more. Word has to spread among the bike community. You trust a friend; a marketing brochure, you have to think about.” Now, he said, “it’s a matter of … getting people aware.”

Velolet’s web site includes Google maps with bike icons. “We want to make sure there’s lots of bike icons everywhere,” said Cleary, who wants Velolet to become “the #1 centralized bike rental hub. “We’ll get there.”

Twin Cities Business Magazine: Start Me Up – Turning Bikes Into Bucks

Although it doesn’t feel like it, spring is right around the corner. It’s almost time for one of Minnesota’s favorite warm weather activities: biking.

This year, Minnesota biking enthusiasts are in for a treat. Thanks to a local entrepreneur and his new online bike rental business, cyclists will have an opportunity to turn their hobby into a money-making venture.

Dan Cleary and his team just launched Velolet, an online platform that allows individuals to rent their bikes to traveling cyclists. The service provides a low-cost alternative for cyclists who want to bike while they’re away, but don’t want to deal with the hassle or cost of shipping their bike. For individual bike owners and bike shops, Velolet offers the opportunity to make rental income on their bicycle(s).

More here

303Cycling: Velolet – The Bike Rental Hub Is Making Its Way to Colorado

Submitted by Ben Welnak on Mon, 03/07/2011 – 14:59.
in World Cycling News

Velolet.com, a unique bike rental service launched this year, allows bike owners, including both individuals and bike shops, to list their bikes and earn income by renting to other cyclists. Creator Dan Cleary came to 303Cycling to announce that Velolet.com will be making its way to Colorado soon.

The goal of the website is to make it easy for traveling cyclists to rent quality bikes. If you’ve traveled with your bike recently, you know the pain. The options are either pay the extra $175-200 to bring it along or pay less to ship through other services and be without a bike for a week before and after the trip. “If you travel, you know what the bike rental situation looks like a lot of times -pretty bleak. You can’t get to the top of any mountains in Colorado on a beach cruiser,” Cleary said. “Well, I guess you can…but why try when there are sweet mountain bikes and road bikes that are available.” The site also allows locals to rent bikes that they may otherwise be unavailable for demo.

More here

The Breaking Story: New Online Website Puts Bikes To Work

A new website allowing cyclists to rent bikes or list their own bikes for others to rent launched this month and its founder is hoping Tucson will be home to the first rental.

Dan Cleary, the creator of Velolet.com, which he calls a bike rental hub, said the goal of his site is to make it easy for cyclists to rent quality bikes when they take a trip.

“If you travel, you know what the bike rental situation looks like a lot of times, which is a real cool beach cruiser. But that is not going to get you up to the top of any mountains any time soon,” Cleary said. “If it goes correctly it will be a central place where people will look for a rental instead of trying to do a Google search.”

More here

TECHdotMN – Velolet Launches Online Rental Service for Serious Cyclists

Thanks TECHdotMN

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Pedal biking has grown to become such a big part of Minnesota that Bicycling Magazine recently named Minneapolis the number one bike city in America.

It’s only fitting that new Minnesota startup Velolet (bike + lend) was founded here as a bike rental hub. Velolet connects bicycle owners — individuals and businesses — with an instantaneous global market.

The website consists of two sections: The first is the area where cyclists can list their own bikes for rent with a photo, description and daily rental price. The second is the default homepage where people can quickly search for inventory in a given location.

more here