Spinlister Wants You To Rent Your Bike, Surfboard, or Skis To A Complete Stanger
Is the 'Airbnb for bikes' the future, or the recipe for a court case?
One person - let's call them Dirk - has a bike that they don't really use. Another person - maybe Randy - wants to use a bike for a short period of time. Normally. Randy has to go to a rental shop, and Dirk is left with an unused bike taking up room in his flat - room that could be used for something better, like his vintage My Little Pony collection, his crusty VHS stash, or his seemingly endless notebooks full of crude drawing of Natalie Imbruglia.
Well, Spinlister have the solution. They facilitate the rental of said unwanted bike between the parties. They act not only as a listings site, but a middle-man that ensures that money changes hands securely, and that the personal details of both parties are protected.
They not only arrange for bikes to be rented out, but also list surfboards, skis, and snowboards as well. Rental boards, while often good enough, can be a little battered, and might not meet your riding needs, whether you spend your time in the surf, or on the snow. Spinlister creates the possibility of getting a board or skis from somebody just like you, that maybe is a bit closer to what you're really after.
Now, you're probably asking yourself "Why would I let some random internet punter borrow my pride and joy?". Well, for a start, you can set the price that you want for your bike or board. You can also arrange the length of time the rental is available for. In short, the nuts and bolts of the rental agreement are completely up to you.
Spinlister are also quick to point out that if your bike, surfboard, skis, or snowboard is damaged or stollen during the agreed rental period, they'll cover the costs up to a value of $10,000 for cycles, depending on country. They also cover surfboards and Stand Up Paddle boards up to $2,000 and skis and snowboards up to $1,000,in any of the 15 countries the company operate in.
That said, we're not sure where any liability would lie if somebody injured themselves while on a hired bike or board that was designed for a higher standard of rider. Would any blame be placed on the person renting out a six foot performance surfboard to somebody who's new to surfing, and they they take it to a gnarly reef break and slash themselves to pieces.
Or if somebody new to snowboarding rented a super stiff backcountry snowboard, took it on the slopes, and ended up ragdolling straight into A&E? In the increasingly litigious age we live it, it remains to be seen whether or not any action could be taken either against Spinlister or the person renting the gear out. It may sound ridiculous, until you remember that it wasn't that long ago that somebody sued Red Bull for not giving them wings.
Another issue we've spotted is that there isn't that much in the way of items being listed in the UK. We had a quick check, and found just over 50 items - almost exclusively bikes, being listen in the greater London area. Head over to South West tip of the country - the home of British surfing - and there are only two listings, both of which are bikes.
Surprised, we checked out the Alps, and found slim pickings there as well. There are a few bikes, but only one pair of skis in Northern Italy, and a lone snowboard in Austria. Given the company has existed since 2011, we'd have thought the inventory would be greater by now.
It'll be interesting to see if Spinlister does grow. The Airbnb model is certainly a successfuly one. The house rental website is now worth a reported $240billion (aprox. £165billion), so maybe it's no purprise to see people working out how they can jump on that fiscally solvent band waggon.