Planes, trains, automobiles… and bikes? If you’re looking for a fun way to travel that offers flexibility and an opportunity for physical fitness, then consider renting a bike. There are tons of services that rent out bicycles to tourists, which is often a more convenient and budget-friendly way of getting around a new place than renting a car or even using public transportation. Renting a bike is an option whether you’re exploring the ins and outs of a vivacious city or are venturing outside of the concrete jungle and into natural beauty.

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There are tons of pros of renting a bike while traveling. As we said, it’s often a more cost-efficient option. But moreover, renting a bike means you always have a convenient way of getting to and from places. You can come and go when you want, and you don’t have to factor in time for traffic. Similarly, you can rent a bike for a day or keep it for your whole trip. Not to mention the physical benefits of riding a bike. Many people complain that it’s hard to work out while traveling, but you’ll be sure to get your daily dose of exercise if you’re cycling everywhere. Plus, it gives you a good reason to indulge in all the foreign food you can feast on.

Those are only some of the benefits of renting a bike on vacation. But today we’re not going to cover why you should rent a bike – we’re going to talk about what you should do once you’ve already decided cycling is for you.

Do: Consider All Of Your Options

Don’t settle on the first place that you see rents bikes. Prices will vary from place to place, but a bit of research can find you the best prices (and maybe even a deal or two). But it’s not only about the financial aspect. It’s important to ensure you’re renting from a reputable business that lends out good quality bikes. Read reviews from people who have rented from the business to ensure you’re making the right decision. The last thing you want to deal with on a trip is drama over your bike rental.

Don’t: Never Give Your Passport

Obviously bike rental businesses have something to lose when they rent out one of their bikes (those babies aren’t usually cheap!). But that doesn’t justify them insisting on holding your passport as collateral. Travel blog Piper Wandering warns that some so-called businesses will ask for assurance, like a passport or other important document. But the publication explains this is often a scam – too many tourists have returned only for the shopkeeper to say the bike is damaged and they’re keeping the passport. The site says that offering a Driver’s License, a college ID, or an employment ID is safer but still risky.

Do: Look At The Bike Before You Ride

When renting a car, it’s always recommended to inspect the vehicle for pre-existing damages or scratches and taking note of it. That way you won’t risk being blamed for damage that was already there. The same applies when renting a bike. Take a look over the bike before getting on and riding. If you notice any marks that the rental business didn’t mention, bring it up with them before leaving the premises. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t: Neve Leave Items On The Bike Unattended

You’re likely to rent a bike with a basket in the front or someplace to use as storage. It should go without saying that you should never leave items unattended. Tourists are at an even higher risk of theft, so leaving personal items out in the open isn’t helping those statistics. Always take your items with you if you’re leaving the bike somewhere. Likely, it may be wise to travel with a bike lock so you can secure your bike during the time it’s not in use. Otherwise, you’re likely to be held responsible as the renter if anything happens to the bicycle.

Do: Check The Weather Ahead of Time

Chainlink strongly recommends checking the weather before setting off for a day of cycling, especially if you’re planning to bike in nature or a remote area. While it doesn’t necessarily need to be warm and sunny to bike, you’ll obviously want to avoid going out in extreme weather, like thunderstorms. But moreover, it’s important to consult the weather so you know how to dress. Your body will be exposed to the elements, so ensuring you won’t be too hot or too cold is essential to your biking experience. It will also inform whether you should bring an extra water bottle or sunscreen.

Renting a bike can be a rewarding and healthy way to make the most of your travels – but it’s essential to properly prepare to ensure you’ll have the best experience. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind if you plan on renting a bike, and then get to cycling!