Seattle has an edge in the bicycling world thanks to one industrious entrepreneur. While a research fellow at the University of Washington, Lucas Nivon realized that many people were coming to the University for a week or longer, interested in biking, but thwarted by the lack of availability. Most rental businesses, only rent bikes short term – a day or just a few hours. Nivon couldn’t help but wonder, “If travelers can rent cars for a week or a month, why not bicycles?”
Out of his curiosity developed “Seattle Monthly Bike Rental” which has grown into “Pedal Anywhere.” The model is simple. Actually, it is so simple, it’s hard to believe that it didn’t exist before. To initiate, Nivon didn’t even need a store front, but only advertising, web access, and transport. He began by targeting business travelers staying in downtown Seattle hotels. Customers could schedule a bike for the duration of their stay, and Nivon would deliver the bike to a convenient agreed upon location.
The web process is simple and time effective. Customers fill out an online request form at www.pedalanywhere.com. Date selection is conveniently located on the home page allowing prospective customers to check bicycle availability for their Seattle stay. Then they merely complete the form, and voile’, they’ve rented a bike for a week or even a month.
Pedal Anywhere was operational in early 2012, but grew slowly, ramping up this year. Customers continue to grow as do the possibilities. Recently, Nivon has partnered with Travel Light Bicycles in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The shop already a known location for sales and service, specializing in refurbishing used bicycles, was a logical partner for extending Pedal Anywhere into the San Juan Islands.
Nivon believes his business will continue to build a market as it operates. During the interview, he described four different types of customers. Business travelers continue to be the core. However, there is the typical tourist who would like to bicycle while visiting Seattle. In addition, he described the value-oriented individual. After pricing a car rental, a bicycle at $80 a week is pretty reasonable. Lastly, there’s the prospective bicycle owner; a person who might want to ride in the annual commute challenge or even for the summer, but just not sure if investing in a bicycle is really worthwhile or simply one who would like to try a bike for awhile before purchasing. Pedal Anywhere could be a service for any of these individuals. While talking, Nivon indicated further expansions. Though he did not disclose the selected cities, it would be worthwhile to keep your eyes and ears open.