The top 10 bike rental options in Toronto
The 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.