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The top 10 bike rental options in Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / June 1, 2014

bike rental torontoThe top bike rental options in Toronto make it easy to explore the city by bike. The verdant trails of the Don Valley, the extensive ravine system, endless waterfront, and Toronto's downtown are all accessible on two wheels - no car or transit fare required. And, thanks to an impressive selection of rental places, there's no need to travel with your own bike and associated clunky hardware.

For the casual rider hopping from cafe to bar, there's the recently rebranded Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) which offers convenient short-term loans in the downtown core. If solo riding isn't your thing, there are a multitude of companies that offer everything from slick road bikes, to tandems, and even goofy quadricycles, just so long as you don't take yourself too seriously.

Here are 10 great options for bike rental in Toronto.

BIKE SHARE TORONTO (FORMERLY BIXI) - VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Toronto's troubled public bike share network was re-born in 2014 as city-owned "Bike Share Toronto." It's basically the same concept as before: 80 stations located in the centre of the city offer simple, if inelegant, bicycles with the flash of a credit card. Bikes can be picked up and dropped off at any location, making Bike Share Toronto a good option for explorers. Note that there are no pick-up/drop-off locations outside downtown. Prices from: $7/half hour (credit card pre-authorization required.)

TORONTO ISLAND BICYCLE RENTAL - CENTRE ISLAND
The best thing about renting a bike in Toronto's offshore park is the potential for hilarity. Located near the pier on Lakeshore Ave., the island's only rental company offers tandems and weird, two- and four-seater "quadricycles"--little buggy things. Regular bikes are available, but that's not as much fun. ID is required for every rental. Watch out for the wildlife on the boardwalk. Prices from: $8/hour (deposit required.)

COMMUNITY BICYCLE NETWORK - 761 QUEEN STREET WEST
Rent one of the Community Bicycle Network's yellow beach cruisers and you will be re-living a piece of Toronto cycling history. Long before Bike Share Toronto arrived on the scene, BikeShare loaned canary-coloured bicycles from 16 hubs across central Toronto. The system is now defunct, but the bikes ride on for $25 a day up to $75 a week. Prices include lights, a lock, and a basket. A single vintage CCM tandem is available for $35 a day, $105 a week. "It's old, it's cranky and fun to ride," says the company's lead mechanic. Prices from: $25/day (deposit required.)

SWEET PETE'S BIKE SHOP - VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Pete Lilly, aka Sweet Pete, offers road, hybrid, mountain, and children's bikes from three locations: one at the Evergreen Brick Works in the leafy Don Valley, 1204 Bloor St. between Dufferin and Lansdowne, and 517 Bloor St. in the Annex. The Brickworks and Annex locations offer online bookings, which beats showing up to find the early birds have snagged all the best rides. Prices from: $10/hour (deposit required.)

BATEMAN'S BICYCLE COMPANY - 29A BARTON AVENUE
What beats a bike reservation? Delivery, of course. Bateman's Bicycle Company (no relation) will drop off the bicycle of your choosing--hydrid, road, mountain, tandem, or even cargo--for $25 each. Serious cyclists in town for a road or mountain bike event can enter a Bateman's bike for $100. Rentals are by the hour (weekend only,) day, week, or month. Lights, helmets, and locks are available, too. Prices form: $20/hour (credit card pre-authorization required.)

CURBSIDE CYCLE - 413 BLOOR STREET WEST
The Annex's Curbside Cycle provides cyclists with a straightforward rental package: quality Canadian Devinci bikes fitted with a bell and set of lights, a sturdy Abus lock, and a skid lid for a flat $40--$10 for an additional 24 hours. It's first-come-first-served and the store recommends arriving early in order to maximize the fun. Note: the bikes no longer come with the front basket as the picture indicates, apparently. Prices from: $40/day (deposit required.)

WHEEL EXCITEMENT INC. - 249 QUEENS QUAY WEST
Queens Quay is set to be a building site this summer, but Wheel Excitement Inc., on the south side of the street, just east of Rees, is still renting out Diamondback and Fuji bicycles. As well as rollerskates, Wheel Excitement loans its bikes by the hour up to a maximum of 48 hours, which is good news if you plan on doing some late-night riding. Helmets come free, locks are $5 extra. Prices from: $15/hour (deposit required.)

THE CYCLEPATH (DANFORTH) - 1520 DANFORTH AVENUE
An East Danforth stalwart, Cyclepath offers city or full suspension mountain bikes for between $40 and $75 for a full day, or $175 to $350 for a week--no road bikes, tandems, kid's bikes or trailers, however. Staff ask that customers call ahead to confirm they have the right sizes available. Things like a lock and helmet are extra. Prices from: $40/day (deposit required.)

MIKE THE BIKE - 5 OXFORD STREET
Located in the heart of bicycle-friendly Kensington Market, Mike the Bike (warning: he's not actually an anthropomorphic bicycle) has bicycles for a super cheap $20 a day, $60 a week, $80 for two weeks, or $100 a month. The bikes are pretty basic (don't expect disc brakes or carbon fibre frames) but the fleet should be good enough for casual puttering around town. Locks are available for a $1 a day. Prices from: $20/day (deposit required.)

EXCLUSIVE SPORT RENTALS - 8575 KEELE STREET, VAUGHAN
Not all cyclists want to be confined to the city. Exclusive Sport Rentals, located just outside the city limits on Keele Street, rents an impressive range of road and mountain bikes to riders on a mission. The gear can be taken on lengthy road rides or down the muddy trails of the GTA for up to a week without breaking the bank. Pick-up is a little out of the way, so you will need a car. Clip-on pedals, locks, and even car racks are available. Prices from: $49/day (deposit required.)

What did I miss? Add your favourite places to rent a bike in Toronto to the comments below.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Discussion

12 Comments

Ollie / June 1, 2014 at 01:06 am
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Why anyone rents the ridiculously expensive Bixi bikes for a day is a mystery.
WN / June 1, 2014 at 08:08 am
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While it seems like the most obvious listing, Bixi--ironically--shouldn't belong here. It's public transportation that happens to use a bike, and shouldn't be thought of as "renting" a bike. It should only be considered when going from one Bixi stop immediately to another, as opposed to a leisurely rental to a park or trail. While this article addresses this somewhat, it should be more strongly emphasized.

There's so many times when I've seen someone on the Centre Island ferry with a Bixi and a picnic lunch, ready to spend the day there and I shake my head knowing that they misunderstood the fees and will freak out when they see the total charges.
Charles / June 1, 2014 at 09:10 am
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Lots of tourist from the hotel I work at downtown rent Bixi Bikes for an afternoon tour around the city. They are very accessible, and often tourists on vacation will pay tourism dollars to do all kinds of activities and attractions.

Look at the prices of going up the CN tower or going to the Aquarium and decide if you want spend your money indoors or outdoors.
Toronto Bicycle Tours / June 1, 2014 at 10:09 am
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Don't forget Toronto Bicycle Tours ;] We have great rental options with self guided tours too http://torontobicycletours.com/scheduled-tours/bike-rentals/
Jason replying to a comment from Ollie / June 1, 2014 at 10:10 am
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It's not a mystery at all why people rent BIXI bikes for the day. They either don't read (or can't read) the instructions, and assume the $5 (now $7) charge is for the entire day without needing to dock after 30 minutes, or they know perfectly well what they are in for and can afford the extra charges.
Malcolm / June 1, 2014 at 03:07 pm
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Don't forget that Bixi/Bike Share is $90 for a year's subscription... you get a key that insta-unlocks instead of having to drag out a credit card every time. The 30 minute thing turns it into a game... dock & wait 2 minutes, take it out again. Worth it for me... just hope they make enough money now to add more stations, as the range is much narrower than Montreal & Chicago
Jer / June 1, 2014 at 08:17 pm
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I use Bixi/Bike Share often but the info in the article is wrong. It isn't from $7/ per half hour. A 24 hr rental for 7$ gets you unlimited rides as long as they are less than 30 minutes each.

Almost seems cheaper to buy a $80 from Walmart for a few days of exploring the city and then sell it vs. renting a bike in this city!
Common sense / June 1, 2014 at 09:53 pm
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Or just buy a bike off kijiji for $50 and then toss it. If ppl are willing to spend $80 to ride for a few days you can get the same quality bike for a fraction of the cost.
Ernie / June 2, 2014 at 01:17 am
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My favorite place to rent a bike in Toronto, Vancouver, or New York is Bayshore Bike Rentals in Vancouver, close to Stanley Park.

Their normal rate is around $12.00 for 2 hours but they give me a "Student Rate" of $8.80 for 2 hours because I am a regular customer. (If they offered me a "Seniors Rate" for the same rate, I would tell them to "take a hike" even though I am in my 60s.)

Any bike rental place that charges more than $9.00 for two hours will not get my business, and particularly those in Vancouver which also don't have bells on their bikes, even though it is the law in Vancouver to have a bell on a bike.

Ernie J. Zelinski
The Prosperity Guy
"Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free"
Author of the Bestseller "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free"
(Over 200,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and the International Bestseller "The Joy of Not Working"
(Over 275,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)
John Helfrich / June 2, 2014 at 09:19 am
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Cheap and cheerful and right at the gateway to the Beaches. Beach Toyz rents reconditioned bikes for $20 per day and $50 per week. Helmet included.
Arcadia / July 14, 2014 at 11:13 am
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I second the Beach Toyz rentals - very cheap and great service. Conveniently located, you can spend the entire day riding along the Beaches.
Toronto Bikes / July 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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You can check out www.spokefly.com. Rentals for $10/day, member pass for $30/month. You ride other people's bikes using the mobile app.

It's only piloting in Toronto right now so you have to sign up and request access to Toronto's bikes. Bike owners can sign up, too, and start making money.

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