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Old 1 Nov 2010
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Lightbulb Bike swap sites, Bike-swap community, does this "swap" thing work?

Hi to all the RTW bikers!

I am simply amazed by the thread I've found about swapping bikes. I've been traveling through the World for a fair deal of my life and now the bike has got the honour to take me elsewhere. I've also grimmed a lot - from behind te computer screen - about just how hard it is it to get your bike over the seas, how expensive it acctually is to rent a bike and how impossible it is to buy it internationally. I must say I still haven't scrapped the surface of all the forums' wisdom, but I don't expect to come to much different conclusions: the biggest hassle with bike travel over-seas is to GET IT there.

That is why i'd like to appeal to all bike-swap community with a first question: Could you please help me with all possible resources (sites), regional and world-wide, to get a general impression on how well this swap thing works.
List any sites, forums, local communities, stories whatever that you know that made people swap bikes successfully. I don't know any other than horizons unlimited.

The second question is: Do you think a dedicated community, which would work really similarly to couchsurfing.org, would be a better place for us swappers to communicate about our possiblities. A place where one would present his offer (bike, place), would get verified, would find trans-continental swap-matches, would learn about regional specifics about riding other-poeples' bikes.

The premise for the swap thing to work includes:
  1. the match of places&bikes of the swap mates
  2. the trust between the swap mates
  3. the "critical mass" of bike owners that are open to lending their own bike, or buying used one for the purpose of lending it to a swap-mate
  4. the regulation, paperwork, regional laws that regulate insurance and responsibilities. (I know for EU and USA that the insurance is bound to vehicle and the driver is responsible for driving it legally)
I strongly feel, that the latter is not the problem, but that we need the first three for us to be able to get swapping them bikes.

I might, however, be wrong and the regulation is indeed a party-pooper and we are doomed to ride the world with a big pain and loads of money.
What do you think?
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Old 1 Nov 2010
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Its a great idea but I don't think its all that popular. I put my bike up and had no bites whatsoever, granted its not a GS but it looks like a lot of the older ads have also failed to get any hits. I think there are so many insurmountable obstacles and impracticalities that its not an attractive option.

If I'm going to be loaning out my bike what guarantee am I going to get in terms of security if the other guy wrecks it in an accident or destroys it beyond usual wear and tear? At the very least any bike loaned out in this way should be returned in a similar condition as it was loaned out and probably with a full service. But your relying on the other persons honour and integrity.

I think the only way around the indemnity problem would have to be a security deposit or guaranteed buy back system. But this negates the cost
-cutting purpose of the whole venture and is problematic in and of itself. I don't think the bike swap thing is likely to ever take off unless its between good friends that completely trust each other.
www.AdventureVagabond.com Mongolia & Siberia 2012: Adventure Moto Madness
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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Trans-Atlantic Bike Share

This website is the portal for the European Bikeshare group who have combined with Trans-Atlantic Bike Share (TABS). TABS was formed to allow the members of the British BMW Owners clubs to swap with the member of The USA BMW Owners clubs. Since then, the club has expanded to include all makes and countries. I've been a member for about 9 years, since a planned trip to the UK showed how much rental bikes would cost us. It was cheaper to join TABS, and buy a cheap bike for other TABS members to borrow. We approached 5 TABS members in England and had SIX bikes offered to us!
Basically you make your own arrangements with the other party. I have borrowed twice and lent by bike out about 8 time. I ask for the cost of registration, and insurance, and any maintenance that comes due while the borrower has the bike. But even worst case (engine service due as well as two tyres), it's still way cheaper than hiring a bike. That way it doesn't really cost me much to do it.


Nigel in NZ
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with . -- 2200 BC Egyptian inscription
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Old 2 Nov 2010
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Sounds good, I'll check them out later. Cheers.
www.AdventureVagabond.com Mongolia & Siberia 2012: Adventure Moto Madness
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Old 13 Dec 2010
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Here is a notion I threw in a few weeks ago on the notion of bikesharing...

Hi All,

I live in Ireland and have done many trips to Europe and into Russia. This year for example I rode to Corsica, Sardinia and the Alps and took my 18yr old son as pillion.

The problem is this...
In order to get to those places I first needed to ride 3 hard days to Nice and spend lots of money on ferries, fuel, road tolls, food and accomodation. Then do the same in reverse to get home! I figure we put in one solid week roundtrip just getting to those regions and back and with all the above associated expence, not to mention the time off work. I wondering how to beat this problem and its cost.

I came near to beating it last year. I rode from Ireland to UK, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweeden, Norway (Nordkapp), Murmansk and Finland (Helsinki). For me the return home from Helsinki was going to be an expensive drag that I didnt really want to do covering roads that I had already been on. So, I had a friend fly into Helsinki and I flew home for €30! He was really pleased with the idea or riding my bike home and seeing all the Baltic states etc whilst not having to ride round trip to get there. We both saved a lot of money.

My biking buddies and I looked at the notion of putting a motorcycle into mainland Europe. Most of our riding is done there. For example if the bike was dropped in Paris someone flys to Paris and rides it to wherever they want, say Milan and then fly home. Next person flys to Milan and might ride it for example to Madrid, then fly home etc. Maybe we could create a booking list detailing dates and where you will make the drop as this way it allows future participants to plan dates and destinations.

It raises lots of questions...
Would it be open to anybody in the form of a business or maybe a small group of ten people who have each thrown in €500 to purchase a bike costing €5,000.
One bike type wont suit all
How do you manage luggage
Where will the bike be stored
How will the bike be maintained
What happens in the case of breakdown
What happens when people fail to adhere to the agreed requirements

But if it did work then for example I could fly to Milan for €50 ride for a week to Madrid and fly home for €50. With one trip I have more than saved my initial investment of €500.

Any thoughts? Maybe its mad! Any suggestions to refine the idea to make it workable?

Your Life is Now!
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Old 13 Dec 2010
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Communal Bike Share

Sounds like a great idea... if the the details can be ironed out I might be interested, especially if we can locate the bike further afield - outside the EU: Asia, Africa & America's.
www.AdventureVagabond.com Mongolia & Siberia 2012: Adventure Moto Madness
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Old 14 Dec 2010
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bike swingers

Bike swapping is synonymous with bike swining. If you would do it with your wife/partner then why not your bike?!

I for one would never swap either.

But there are always exceptions ( I would happliy loan my bike to a trusted friend and rider not expecting anything in return. )
TurboCharger + Francois (our BMW R1200gs) '07
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Old 1 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
Sounds like a great idea... if the the details can be ironed out I might be interested, especially if we can locate the bike further afield - outside the EU: Asia, Africa & America's.
I share the same difficulties as you Declan, and would definitely be interested in having a punt on something like this. Let me know if you manage to advance the idea.
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Old 6 Feb 2011
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Location: Cairns, QLD , Australia
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Talking Super tenere in Capetown, South Africa

WE ARE IN...this sounds wonderful!!
We have a bike set up for touring in Capetown...will swap for a bike anywhere!!
Whos keen...let us know!
We were thinking Canada or US this June 2011.
Check our bike out on www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/peck
Cheers, Patrick and Belinda Peck
Patrick and Belinda Peck
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Old 7 Feb 2011
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From a car sharing perspective to an international bike sharing scheme

Could not agree more on the need, pls see this site for inspiration. The CarSharing Association | The CarSharing Association works to maximize the environmental and social impact of the carsharing industry. Member-organizations are committed to providing sustainable, transit-oriented urban mobility for the benefit of . For sure it could be done through working with some of the hundreds local bikers clubs. Dealers interested in partnering up could have a pivotal role to play for pick-up / maintenance / drop-off points. Think of U-Haul for instance, I wonder how they got their trailer business going... no publicity or comment on personal experience here, but the idea is simple and has to remain simple as such.
The way I see it there could be multiple options from the personalized kind of "coach surfing" approach in which one would actually lend his/her personal bike or second bike to a perfect stranger, to a more sophisticated system, yet kept simple, in the form of an international cooperative to which members buy a share as a means to capitalize and cover for purchase and operation costs, including licensing and insurance. A variety of schemes can be thought out taking into consideration the type of bikes, seasonal factors, distance and else..

Cooperatives are widely popular in Quebec and now in the rest of Canada as well, so the extent that whoever is interested in building-up such a system would definitely learn a lot on best practices by looking closely at the modus operandi of each organization member of the "CarSharing Association". While this would take us away from the highly personalized approach, it would possibly prove being a cheaper alternative to bike rental. The good thing about cooperatives is that they don't have to post profits, they have to improve the service and make it widely available to shareholders, in other words, no de-capitalization to the profit of stockholders.

I once let a friend go on a bike I previously owned and he crashed it. I lost a bike and a friend; he only had minor injuries that is not the problem, it's rather that he lied on the circumstances and never paid it back either. That's the problem with bikes, lending a bike now does feel odd, sort of a drift away somehow, at least for me.

This is an inspiring thread, I'd like to turn this idea into reality.

Last edited by Squire; 7 Feb 2011 at 18:41.
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