If you live in France or have visited the city of love, roaming around in the city on a bike should be one of the to-do things on your list. Driving on the city’s cobbled streets in a car just doesn’t seem right and neither does it provide one with an opportunity to explore those narrow alleyways and passages, which are well-known for adding to the city’s beauty. Renting a bike is one of the easiest things to do in the city but not very convenient if you go for the old fashioned way of bargaining at a local shop.
In such situations, the startup Ouibike comes to the rescue. The French startup provides an online bike rental service to users and claims to have more than 300 rental points in France from where one can get a bike after booking online. The startup aims at revolutionising the bike rental sector and we find out exactly how it intends to do that.
How does Ouibike plan to revolutionise the bike rental sector?
The startup has another outtake on the bike renting scene as it claims to be the first to digitalise the process. Traditionally, one would have to call up a bike shop owner and/or walk into a shop to rent a bike. However, Ouibike offers the same functionality online and it does so without hurting local businesses. The company’s online interface basically features a network of multiple small to medium-sized bike shops from different regions across France that are grouped together.
The company says, “Our mission when revamping the bike rental sector is to facilitate bike rentals for consumers, while supporting small local businesses and communities. We want to give small bike shops the opportunity to get a slice of the large cyclo-tourism industry in France while making the bike rental process more convenient for consumers.”
How does Ouibike stand apart from other competitors in the market?
Ouibike says it is different from the competition because of hosting the largest network of bike shops in France. The company claims it has over 300 rental points across France and it rented over 15,000 bikes in 2018. This means one can rent a bike from virtually anywhere in France. Additionally, another unique element about the startup is the option to deliver a booked bike right to a customer’s doorstep. This is said to be a valuable convenience for many of the company’s customers and it is something that sets Ouibikes apart from its competitors.
Current venue of operation and funding plans
Ouibikes currently operates only in France and it is its second year in the city. The startup says its goal for this year is to enable bike rentals for English, German and Dutch tourists entering France. The company’s website is thus updated with English, German and Dutch language for providing ease of use to customers on the website.
When asked about funding, Ouibike says it has neither received any funding till now and nor is it currently planning on obtaining external funding.
How Ouibike works
Ouibikes’ website enables one to feed their booking info to rent out a bike. This info consists of the city where the bike is being rented from, the number and types of bicycles required and the dates of their rental. Based on their search criteria, users are then presented with the option to book their bicycle rental from either the website or through one of their partnered bike shops in the area. As for the type of cycles, one can select from children, tandem, electric bicycles, among others.
After the booking is done, one can pick up their rental bike from one of the company’s partnered bike shop. Additionally, there’s also an option to get the booked bikes delivered to an address of a user’s choice like a hotel, Airbnb, or a bike trail. If the bikes are being delivered to the customer, they are also picked up from the same location once the rental is completed. While booking online, users are directed to a secure payment processing form that is powered by LEMONWAY to complete the booking process. In addition, there’s free cancellation option up until 24 hours before the date of rental.
As for the pricing of the bikes being rented, it is said to vary depending on different regions. The company’s partnering bike rental stores in an area apparently set the price of bike rentals on the Ouibike. Additionally, prices displayed on the company’s website will be the same as the prices one would be quoted when directly visiting a bike shop.
Cover image credits: Shutter Stock
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