I passed by a sign the other day that said “Basically FREE Bike Rentals”. After a bit of research, I understand how it works. In a nutshell, you rent a bike, they charge your credit card, then give you a credit voucher for their “sister” store, Sports Basement (on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and a very complete store, I might add), and you have a credit to purchase anything in the store up to the value of your bike rental (about $32). It’s kind of free and kind of a good deal if you’re in the market for something from their huge store. We can always use another piece of gear from a sporting goods store, right?
The only small drawback is you have to return the bike to the store where you got the bike, which is a few blocks from the ferry you’ll probably take back from Sausalito. It’s OK as long as you know which ferry to take back, so it’s not a big drawback. My FREE eBook (click on FREE DOCS above) tells you to go back to the Ferry Building, but if you opt to do the free bike thing, you’ll need to note that, so you don’t waste time. Take the ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf. Frankly, the Ferry building is not that far, but a few people mentioned it as a problem, so I’m offering it as a heads up, so you’ll know what to expect. To ride from the Ferry Building to return the bike will only take a few minutes. I think it’s about 10 – 12 blocks at best.
I found this review by Albertino M on Yelp, which explains it all very nicely. I hope he’s OK with me posting it here (IF NOT Albertino M, just let me know and I’ll write my own version. I just thought you did a great job.)
Albertino M says:
Purpose: Knowing me, when ever a sign says “free”. I get jittery and start mumbling to myself, I’m not crazy though.
Set-up: Located on the corner of Columbus/Bay street the long time former spot of Tower Records. Bikes of all types even kids are available for rental. Place is rental only no sales of anything. For purchases you’ll need to head over to Crissy Fields Sports Basement.
Staff: One girl late 20s and older guy early 50s seems to be the house mechanic. Both were courtesy by letting me walk around browsing. I went ahead asking how the program work. Being very skeptical, I knew there has to be a catch somewhere along the line. Just couldn’t figure it out at the moment. Then it became apparent that there’s no catch. The name of business backs up the claim, to a certain extent.
Cleanliness: Grade A, In compliance to city and building specs for the kind of business it offers. Spacious with lounge chairs and sofas.
Bagging It: Didn’t take out a bike due to the attire and time of day, too late. I understand the program so, I’ll return next time do a rental when I need something from their store. Stay tuned!
Main Feature: Bike rental with value of your rental apply towards your purchase at their brick and mortar store.
Products/Services: Bikes from hybrid, electric, tandem, road, kids bike. Prices range from $15/kids to $60/road bike. Receipt is good for 72hrs before expiring.
Punch Lines: Good for environment, beats traffic, beginners/novice/pro welcome, healthy, lock provided, ride as much/less as you please, no area limits, hourly/full day, time saving, parking/ticket worry free, Cannondale rentals, all bikes tune/inspected.
Tradeoffs: Not really free, as store credit is just a catch to get you in the store and spend more. This resulting in over spending and beyond your means.
Final Thoughts: It’s free if you really need a particular item or been eyeing it for a while. You may not want to rent a bike if you don’t need anything from the store. The credit is good for up to 72hrs. After that its no good, you’re still left with a charge from your CC, for time bike is in use. However, it beats out other competitors around. At least you can get something that you may have wanted for a while.