Tips for bicycle hire on holiday
simple guide to bicycle hire on holiday
1. Make sure it fits. It seems obvious, but don’t accept anything that is not correct for you. If you need an unusual size, phone ahead and make sure they can accommodate you.
2. Use your own shoes, pedals, and Garmin mounts. Many people will take their own saddle too. You probably won’t notice little differences in frame geometry, but if you are spending all day in the saddle bringing your own removes any risks.
3. When renting carbon bicycles, check for frame damage. Most hire bikes however have been around for a couple of seasons, so don’t be surprised if the factory finish has worn off. Scrapes and chips on the paintwork of a carbon frame usually are nothing to be worried about. As a general rule, if there are any marks or dings on a carbon frame you are worried about, push on them with your thumb. If the carbon is firm and hard, you should be OK. If the carbon bends or compresses there may be a fracture so ask for a different bike.
4. Give the components on your hire bike a safety check. There are some things to look over before taking a hire bike on holiday out for a spin. Are the brakes working properly, hold each one closed in turn, pushing the bike down into the ground and forward at the same time. If you push down hard and the brakes are good, the bike will not move. Give the brake pads a look over, make sure they aren’t overly worn. Spin each wheel to make sure it rotates straight and true, and inspect the tyres. A road slick should have a curved surface. After a lot of miles, the contact area will begin to square off as the rubber thins, making it prone to puncture. Also look out for signs of damage or “checking” to the side walls, or any large marks on the contact area from road debris. Finally, give the cranks a positive shake -they should be tight and not rattle – and make sure you can change in and out of gears smoothly.
5. The front brake is on the right… OK? If you are renting a bike on the continent, chances are the brakes are the opposite way round. If you are renting from an area with a lot of British tourists, they may have the bikes set up ‘the English way’. Make sure you check, and get used to the brake set up before heading out.
6. You might want to consider taking out some insurance. If you are riding a carbon bicycle on holiday, there is a good chance it could be worth a small mint. Generally bicycle hire shops on holiday don’t offer any form of insurance, or it is very limited. If anything happens to the bike, you may be liable for it.