This New Method of Bike Sharing Could Put CitiBike out of Business

CitiBikes are plagued with two potentially deal-breaking problems: clumsy, often broken rental stations and pavement-cracking weight. That being said, we're not complaining; CitiBike, Hubway, Divvy, CaBi, and Pronto (can you name each of their cities?) have set off a hunger for public-access bikes which we can seriously get behind. But what if there was a better option? Spinlister’s new take on bike sharing aims to satisfy the public's appetite for instant-bikes while patching its gaping holes.


Up until now, Spinlister’s concept was simple; it’s Airbnb for bikes. If you’re in an area and need a ride, check the local listings, find and reserve what you need, and pick it up. And if you own a bike that just sits around, you can make some extra dough by listing it. While this idea is admirable, it was missing a key element—convenience. So Spinlister teamed up with Dutch bike company VanMoof to try something using the magic of Bluetooth and GPS.

Available for renters to buy, ride, and lease when not in use, these specially-commissioned bikes integrate seamlessly with the Spinlister app. Users can locate bikes around the city using GPS and unlock them using their phone. Since the bikes have Bluetooth smart locks, every bike rack or post is a potential station so you can actually park conveniently outside of your destination. After you're locked up, someone new can pick it up.

There’s a lot to love here, especially compared to CitiBikes. “Our bike share model requires no sponsorship, government assistance, or tax funds to maintain,” says Andrew Batey, Spinlister’s CMO. “Simply put, the Spinlister system is better because it's efficient, self-sustaining, and requires little investment from outside sources.”

It’s also better because the bike doesn’t ride like a broken filing cabinet. “It's a high quality smart bike that people actually WANT to ride,” continues Batey, “bikes that even a hardcore bike enthusiast would enjoy.”

Bike sharing with cycles people actually enjoy riding? We're gonna need a wider bike lane.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Deputy Editor at Supercompressor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.