So You Think Bike Rentals Are Only For Summer?

Well our newest addition to Velolet, Golden Bike Shop (Golden, CO) would maybe disagree.  These guys took their newest Salsa Mukluks out on the 16″ of fresh snow they received last week.  GBS’ owner, Greg Floyd sent us some great photos and we’re happy to display just how much fun these Fat Bikes can be.

So, if you’re headed out to Golden/Denver area to play in the powder, consider a diversion from the normal double and single plank fun and rent a Fat Tire Salsa Mukluk for a few days.

You’ll be hopping from place to place, smiling all the way.

Salsa Adventure By Bike

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Bike Manufacturer Demo Fleets, Turn Them Into Bike Rentals

As we started to prep for Interbike and plan our discussions, we sat down with a few friends who work for a US distributor of bikes a few weeks ago. We were talking bike rentals with them, seeking their advice given their acute insight to the bicycle industry.  We asked about demo bikes.

As background, demo bikes are a usual part of a manufacturer’s or distributors sales program designed to allow consumers to “try” before buying.  These demo bikes are usually used as part of an overall Demo program that the brand managers develop as part of their sales and marketing plans.  Trek Factory Demo is a great example.

The problem with these and many other programs like this is they are limited many times to only a day or two in a particular city, like Interbike’s Outdoor Demo Sept 12-13 in Las Vegas.  This event in particular points out a couple of issues.  First, Interbike isn’t designed for consumers, it’s for dealers (bike shops).  Second, with consumers, who already have a limited window of time because of family and friend commitments, can many times miss the day the demo bikes are in town, meaning there are limited opportunities to “try” the bikes.  Last, we also learned that many smaller manufacturers just simply don’t have the budget to roll-out a nationwide series of Demo Days.  They have the demo bikes but using a traveling caravan to host Demo Events can be cost prohibitive so they limit their demos to the IBD “buying” events, without any real plans to get consumers on those bikes.

Case in point, we come to find out that this distributor has almost a stockpile of demo bikes provided to them from a European bike manufacturer that they use throughout the year as demos.  Because the number of demo events are limited and a real pain to deal with in terms of shipping logistics and cost, 90% of the time the bikes sit in a warehouse collecting dust.  Just the opposite of the sales goals of a demo program, right?

So we asked, why not rent them out when they are not being used? They seem so under utilized and not effectively getting to the consumers to sample.  The answer, we are not set up to deal with that and the bikes are only in a single location.

Hold on a second, we said. The goal is to get more and more people to put their butts on bikes so they can try them out because if you can really try the bike out, you might be more inclined to buy one. Right?

So here was our idea:

  1. Consign those bikes out to your top 20 shops/locations and list them for rent on Velolet. Get them out to places throughout the country like California, Oregon , New York, Colorado, Texas, Florida, etc..  Use the IBDs as your sales and marketers.
  2. Let the IBD earn the bike rental income as an incentive to provide your sales and marketing.  The rental income can be used to buy those consigned bikes
  3. Immediately following the demo rental, the consumer can be provided a direct promotional incentive (from the manufacturer or IBD) to purchase the bicycle.  That promotional incentive can be anything from the rental fee applied to the cost of the purchase or other direct factory incentives
  4. It also doesn’t matter whether you are a big or a small manufacturer, by putting even 1 or 2 bikes at your dealers, you provide a much larger exposure then your current program which will inevitably lead to higher sales.Dan Cleary, Velolet, Lazer, Dealer Camp

Velolet can handle the entire process, working with the IBDs directly. Don’t forget we cover the liability insurance so everyone is protected.  We also collect a tremendous amount of data that the distributors and manufacturers can use to see rental trends and conversions and customize their demo sales program as needed.

What does this all Velolet program accomplish? It gets more people trying your bikes which inevitably leads to increased sales. That’s the goal right? It also provides the IBD the ability to earn income to buy the consigned bikes for end of season sales, all while earning rental income.

We will be stopping by your booths at Interbike and we would love work out a gameplan with you. Trust us, it is worth your time. After all, we are the best online bike rental resource for your customers to find bike rentals.

Live Green Twin Cities: Need a bike on an out-of-town vacation? Velolet gives you pedal power

July 5, 2011
by Sarah Askari

Green living is about making connections. Connecting the way your food is grown to the conditions of nearby waterways. Connecting the way your community uses energy to the quality of the air. And connecting your means of transportation with the footprint you leave behind. Now, a new website created by a local entrepreneur connects travelers with rental bikes in faraway cities. It’s called Velolet, and it could be the tool you need to get out and explore the countryside around an unfamiliar city with minimal inconvenience and maximum enjoyment.

Longtime cyclist Dan Cleary got the idea for the company he founded after “dealing with frustration when I travel.” It’s possible to bring a bike on a plane…but the extra fees will kill you, if the hassle of trying to maneuver a mountain bike as if it’s a suitcase doesn’t get you first. Meanwhile, in areas blessed with plenty of tourist-friendly bike paths, bike shop owners were sitting with an inventory of rental bikes but no simple way to get them into the hands of faraway consumers. Keeping track of inventory, working out the terms and conditions of service, and concerns about liability exposure kept lots of independent shops out of the game.

Enter Velolet.

Read more here

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.”

Full Story Here

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.