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Spring has sprung, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, the verdant buds are beginning to flower, yet we’re still sitting inside, typing away feverishly in a Reddit argument.
What the heck is wrong with us?
In an effort to promote the common good, we’re telling the world about Spinlister, a groovy startup that launched just a couple weeks ago. Put simply, it’s an Airbnb for bikes.
Yes, you, the laptop-bound gadget addict, can check out and rent a really cool pair of wheels in your own (or a destination) neighborhood. The bicycles are hella cool, the prices are reasonable, and the concept is perfectly timed.
VentureBeat caught up with Spinlister founder Will Dennis for a heart-to-heart about Spinlister, bike culture, and the fun side of running a startup about bicycles. Also, Dennis gives key details on how biking can make you sexier and get you dates.
Read it, then get yourself on a bicycle and go enjoy the weekend outside.
VentureBeat: Spinlister looks a lot like Spinster — has that occurred to y’all? Maybe it’s all in my subconscious, but I just get the mental image of old maids on bicycles…
Will Dennis: We have heard that, but to be honest we’re relatively insulated from the spinster community (knock on wood), so we thought Spinlister sounded great. And honestly, if these old maids have bicycles, we’d love to talk rentals with them.
VB: In San Francisco, we just got over a nasty rainy spell and have been enjoying some amazing weather. Has Spinlister seen any additional traffic (no pun intended) due to that?
WD: Yeah, we see some spikes during the sunnier periods. We also have a good number of people renting bikes in advance to even it out.
VB: What’s been going on since your launch? What have you been doing with your $450,000 in funding?
WD: We’ve been building out our product, talking to users, improving the site and experience as much as we can, and taking lunchtime bike rides.
We’re not spending too much money right now, really saving up for that special someone. That special someone being two special someones: an iOS and a Ruby on Rails dev.
VB: What’s coming up over the next few months for you? New cities, new features, etc.?
WD: We’re working on developing a few new markets. L.A. and Portland look like the front runners right now, but we’re really taking it on a city-by-city basis. Some of the smaller cities may open up soon as well.
It’s really all about judging when there’s a solid number of quality bikes and an enthusiastic community.
We’re also adding some new features to make the process of renting a bike even more seamless and easy. We’re excited about where we are but even more excited about what’s to come.
VB: Why is biking important, socially, ecologically, economically, or otherwise?
WD: Biking is important because it is the best way to move from point A to point B, all factors considered. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, your savings, your daily commute, your travel, the environment, or your recreation, a bike can help.
I’d actually throw improved sex appeal into that list as well.
VB: Why is biking so popular right now? Is it more than just the hipster thing to do?
WD: Bikes are a great, individual mode of urban transport. As people become more and more urban, I think it’s a natural fit, and as young people become more car-apathetic, transportation options have opened back up.
Biking is one that makes a lot of sense and is a whole lot of fun.
And as with expensive coffee and microbrews, the biking hipsters may be setting a trend that the main stream is soon to adopt.
VB: Do you have a favorite story about a Spinlister user or bike-rental experience?
WD: My favorite story so far is actually about a girl who rented my bike. It’s called the Blue Lady Killer, and apparently it’s just as effective with men.
Some guys at Central Park struck up a conversation with her and now she’s going on a date with one of them. Proof in review number five.
Also, the international willingness to use Spinlister has been a pleasant surprise as well. We’ve had people rent from six or seven continents (still waiting on Antarctica). My cofounder Jeff, my girlfriend, and I all went out to dinner with a renter from South Africa two weeks ago.
We’re starting to see the people who use Spinlister as adventurous, easy going, and fun. It’s been great meeting as many people involved in the Spinlister community as possible.
VB: What’s the coolest bike listed on the site right now, in your opinion?
Sort of a tough question, because I will be permanently biased towards my own Blue Lady Killer. We do, however, have a glow-in-the-dark, fixed-gear track bike that’ll be a head turner on night rides.
Really though, I’ve been so excited by the quality of bikes on the site. They’d all be a blast to ride.