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Top tips for bicycle hire on holiday

Will Leedham | 11 months ago


You’ve decided not to take your bike with you on your next trip. Even after our detailed guide to stress-free traveling with bikes, and handy info graphic on bike luggage charges for air travel. It’s fine. We’re not disappointed.

The truth is, bike rental in Majorca, bicycle hire in Lanzarote, or any other cycling friendly destination is easier than ever. For not much more than airline charges to ship your bike box, you could rent a carbon beast worth double the bike you have left at home.

If this is your first venture into bicycle hire on holiday however, there are a few things you should bear in mind.

Our simple guide to bicycle hire on holiday

1. Make sure your bike fits. It seems fairly obvious, but don’t accept anything that is too big or too small. If you need an unusual size, it is best to phone ahead and make sure they can accommodate you before you arrive. I happen to be quite tall. One of my riding buddies is particularly small. We always call ahead.

2. Bring your own shoes, pedals, and Garmin mounts with you. Many people will bring their own saddle on holiday too. You probably won’t notice little differences in frame geometry, but if you are spending all day in the saddle it needs to be comfortable. Bringing your own removes any risks.

3. When renting carbon, check for signs of frame damage. If you are renting the latest Dogma from the Pinarello store on Majorca, you can expect it to be in pretty good shape. 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 aren’t anything to be worried about. Have our look at our blog Carbon is stronger than you think. If there are any marks or dings on a carbon frame you are worried about, push firmly on them with your thumb. If the carbon is firm and hard, you should be good. If the carbon bends or compresses under your finger, there is likely a fracture and you are best off asking for a different bike.Carbon-Bicycle-Smashed

4. Give the components a quick safety check. There are a few things to look over before taking a hire bike on holiday out for a spin. Like kicking the tyre of a second hand car, but much more useful.

Make sure the breaks are working properly by holding 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 breaks are good, the bike shouldn’t move. Give the brake pads a quick look over too and make sure they aren’t overly worn. Give each wheel a spin to make sure it rotates straight and true, and inspect the tyres while you do so.

A road slick should have a nice curved surface. After a lot of miles, the contact area will begin to ‘square off’ as the rubber thins, making it more prone to puncture. You also want to look out for signs of damage or checking to the side walls, or any large marked on the contact area from road debris.

Finally, give the cranks a good shake. They should be tight with no rattle, and make sure you can change in and out of each gear smoothly.

5. The front break is on the right… right? If you are renting a bike on the continent, chances are the breaks are the opposite way round to what you are used to. If you are renting from an area with a lot of British tourists, they may have the rental bikes set up ‘the English way’, just to throw you a curve ball. Make sure you check, and get used to the break set up before heading off on your first ride. Half way down a fast descent is not the best place to get confused between your front and rear breaks.

6. Finally, you might want to consider taking out some insurance to cover hire bikes.

“Hang on, has this whole thing been one long advert for hire bike insurance?”

Yes, do you feel cheated for reading to the end?

If you are riding a carbon bicycle on holiday, there is a good chance it could be worth several thousand pounds. 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 could be liable for it.

Yellow Jersey are the only company that allow you to take out insurance for hire bikes, as well as the only company to offer short term bicycle insurance. All you need to do is take out a short term policy, and insure for the new retail value of the bike you are hiring.


Will Leedham

| 11 months ago

About this author:
I wasn’t given the choice as to whether or not I wanted to get into cycling. My family bike shop (Leedham’s Leicester) was founded in the 1850’s, and to avoid bringing dishonour to my ancestors, took up the two wheels out of reluctant duty. That said I do head out for the odd spin and know rather a lot about bikes.

I take care of YJ’s digital marketing among other things. Ever noticed those ads that seem to follow you round the internet and all over Facebook? Yep, I’m that guy.
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