How to Rent Bikes and Scooters
Get from point A to point B efficiently and enjoyably on two wheels.
Zip, zoom and pedal your way through crowded city streets or along winding promenades when renting a bike or scooter on your future travel adventure. With more than 84 million shared bicycle and scooter trips logged in 2018, more city-dwellers and tourists than ever before have decided to take a spin.
Are you ready to take a two-wheeled tour?
Sightseeing with the wind in your hair
Bike-sharing programs have been cropping up in sizable cities around the world since the mid-2000s. A fun, healthy and low-cost transportation option for tourists, you can map out bike station locations along your sightseeing itinerary and burn a few calories while making the most of your visit.
Electric scooters offer a similar exhilarating experience with less effort. Scooter brands like Bird, Lime and Spin quietly infiltrated cities around the world in 2017 and 2018. Some of the largest fleets in 2018 were found in Berlin, Madrid and Paris. While they don’t reside at docking stations throughout a city, these scooters often line the streets around the hottest tourist attractions.
If your travel destination offers attractions outside of a city, you may be better off with a scooter of a different sort. Vespas, mopeds and the like are a great way to explore the countryside and the outer boroughs and suburbs of a city. They are highly recommended for exploring Vietnam, Thailand and the Greek and Spanish Isles.
Getting your hands on a bike or scooter
Electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime offer rentals via their respective apps. Simply set up an account then use the app to locate and unlock a scooter. Rates typically start at $1 to unlock the scooter with 15 to 25 cents added for every mile or minute of the ride. Scooters are ideal for short journeys in the heart of the city.
Bicycle rentals are available via app as well as from local street vendors and special kiosks. Prices can vary widely depending on a variety of factors but expect to pay between $10 and $15 for a one-day rental. Some bike sharing providers offer the first 30 minutes of a ride for free, so consider docking the bike while you explore the area and grabbing a new ride for the next leg of your trip.
Larger, more powerful vehicles, like mopeds and Vespas often are available for rent from dedicated rental shops or roadside stands. Expect to pay slightly more than you would for an electric scooter or bicycle. While prices are typically higher for this type of transportation, rarely should you pay more than $50 with similar vehicles costing less than $10 per day in many Asian countries.
Mind your manners (and the law)
Electric scooters can reach speeds as high as 25 miles an hour and are not designed to share the sidewalk with pedestrians. Most cities require riders to stick to the roadways and wear a helmet. You also will need to be at least 18 years old and present a valid license or ID to rent an electric scooter.
When available, cyclists should stick to designated bike lanes and bike paths. Research your destination to determine if specified lanes or paths are available to bicyclists and, if not, find out if you are expected to ride in the street or share the sidewalk.
To drive a scooter or moped abroad, most countries require an international driver’s permit (IDP), which can be obtained from AAA for less than $50. A tourist license also may be acceptable and is the preferred form of identification in countries who do not accept the IDP.
Whether traveling by bike, scooter or moped, be sure to research local laws and best rental and riding practices before taking off on your very own two-wheeled adventure.