On a trip last year to Portland to attend a conference I was so impressed with the many and varied ways that you can rent, borrow, or share a bike in the city. Our conference supplied a fleet of bikes for a tour of the city. A local vendor set up shop in the hotel garage so that twenty of us could take off on a tour of the city.
Many Portland hotels offer free loaner bikes (complete with helmet and lock). Just sign the waiver and off you go. While staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, near the Rose Garden Arena I did just that and found a wonderful new restaurant on the North Williams bike corridor. Called Tasty and Sons, this restaurant is just one of many new business that are buoyed by the increase in bicycle traffic along the corridor. The popularity of the Williams Street bike lanes even warranted an article in the January, 2009 issue of Sunset Magazine. Many hotels in the downtown area also have their own fleet of loaner bicycles or are within a couple of minute walk to a vendor that rents bicycles.
While searching on the hotel's website I found this "tip". The actually are encouraging you to ride their free rail system or pedal yourself and ride one of their free bikes to get out and enjoy their city. Very nice indeed.
Park your car, save money and help the environment. Utilize MAX-Portland's Light Rail system when exploring Portland. Access the light Rail just 3 short blocks from our front door. Max Light Rail offers, Fareless Square allowing you ride into downtown Portland for FREE OR USE ONE OUR COOL COURTESY BICYCLES TO PEDAL YOURSELF.
On my return to San Jose I thought I would do a quick survey to see what hotels offered the same loaner system in downtown San Jose.
- Hotel DeAnza - No
- Crowne Plaza Hotel - No
- Fairmont Hotel - Yes (if you are a member of their presidents club program, but there is no evidence that they actually have bicycles on the premise.)
- San Jose Hilton Hotel - No
- Four Points Sheraton Hotel - No
- San Jose Marriott Hotel -Yes $10 for 1 hour $25 for 3 hours
- St. Claire Hotel - No
- Ramada Inn - No
From the Marriott's web page:
What is interesting to note is that the Marriott offers a free fitness center (treadmills, stationary bicycles, etc), but you must pay for the bicycles. With only four bicycles, Marriott's "fleet" couldn't have cost them more than $2,000 up front whereas a fitness center ends up costing them more for the space and equipment.The San Jose Marriott provides our Guests with the ability to easily balance priorities in a stylish, inviting atmosphere. We enable your success through our friendly service culture.
Guests of The San Jose Marriott Hotel enjoy First-Class Guest Services and Hotel Amenities including; Fitness Center, Outdoor Pool, Jacuzzi, Top Shelf Dining and much more.
Imagine the boost to downtown San Jose as well as outlying neighborhoods if downtown hotels offered bicycles available to loan to guests. With the city's commitment to expand on street bicycle routes, bicycle trails, and bike parking this makes perfect sense to bring hotel guests to local restaurants, coffee houses, and stores. More on this topic later.