Traditional bike share programs operate as private businesses. A company or municipality owns the bikes and runs the operation and logistics, and (usually) a corporate sponsor helps provide the funding. Spinlister, a peer to peer bike renting app, is hoping to turn the model on its head with a new bike share program launching this year in Portland, Oregon.
Currently the Spinlister service works by allowing users to rent out their own private bicycles, surfboards and snowboards to other users. The new system will actually include a specific bicycle that can be available to users at any time. There is no hub or central station and the bikes will use the city’s existing bike rack infrastructure.
The bikes, made by Dutch company VanMoof, are still privately owned, but Spinlister says it plans to subsidize and finance the bikes to make the barrier of entry lower, and owners can actually make money with them over time. They will feature an integrated lock controlled by Bluetooth that will allow it to be unlocked with the mobile app. It has an on-board computer that allows it to be tracked by the network and record when and where it is rented. The system will likely come in handy considering Portland’s huge bicycle theft rate.
The bike also has 2-speed Sturmey Archer or 8-speed Alfine hubs, flat-resistant tires, dynamo-powered lighting and an adjustable seatpost. Spinlister says that after the beta test in Portland, maintenance of the bikes will be the responsibility of the owners, but the network will partner with local bike shops for discounts on service.
With all that technology on board the bikes will likely be expensive, though no set price has been established yet. Spinlister says that by earning money renting the bike, owners will be able to bring the price invested down under $1,000.
If all goes well, Spinlister hopes to expand to significant supply density in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Austin. Look for bikes to be arrive in Portland in “late summer.”