Cyclehireinfo.com now has almost 200 cycle hire locations listed, less than a year after the site launched.
The portal was set up in June 2011 to make it easier for people to find their nearest cycle hire company. Using a search facility, users can specify the type of cycle hire service they require – whether groups are catered for, whether children's bikes are available, etc – using a simple tick box system. Currently 190 cycle hire locations are listed.
Cyclehireinfo.com founders Gary Shipp and Jessica Hicks put the site together after finding the simple task of locating a nearby cycle hire company seemingly harder than it should be.
Co-founder Shipp told BikeBiz: "On a trip away last year, an unexpected opportunity presented itself to get a day's cycling in. As we didn't have our own bikes with us, we were looking to hire some but the search wasn't an easy one.
"We found it really hard to find the services we were looking for – we wanted to hire a tandem for the experience, to ride off road, needed some local area maps and we had to get to the place by train or bus. Using Google's search engine was quite an exhausting process, and when we eventually did find somewhere it was by phone recommendation because the provider didn't have a website.
"From that experience, our idea was born – to build a simple-to-use website directory bringing together all the information about cycle hire companies from across the UK, helping people hire a bike, wherever they like."
The duo said they had attempted to contact all of the cycle hire providers across the UK, offering a free no-obligation trial of services so new clients can see how they work.
At the end of the free period, charges are £15 for a further six months or £25 for a calendar year, while registered charities can continue to list their services for free.
Shipp explained: "As an added benefit, we have also arranged some exclusive discounts with a few partner organisations to help save our clients money in other ways.
"Our website has a very simple search function that allows people to search by desired location and the types of services they are looking for – for example children's bikes, off-road trails or long term hire – and we also provide public transport and discount information, and the opportunity for people to review their experiences. Importantly, it was designed to appeal both to first-time or returning cyclists and families, as well as more regular participants and enthusiasts."
He added: "We are very proud of what we have achieved to date and look forward to developing our project further as we move into our second year."