Riders Share is a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental network. Launched in 2016, they offer a service that is unique in the realm of sharing economy rentals: there are plenty of car sharing businesses, but very little in the motorcycle space.
Riders Share caught my eye because I know some people who love to ride and who often talk about renting motorcycles just for a few days when traveling. Inevitably this is very expensive when they find the one shop in town renting out Harleys, with very limited options. So this service seems like a great opportunity for travelers, although I’m sure locals who don’t own a motorcycle can also benefit. On the flip side, most people I know who own motorcycles have them sitting idle the majority of the time, presenting a good opportunity for making some money by renting the bike out. I had a chance to talk with the founder of Riders Share, Guillermo Cornejo, and ask him about his inspiration for the business and where he sees it going.
ShareTraveler: What inspired you to create a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental network?
Guillermo Cornejo: I was a beginner rider and totaled my Ninja. Between that and the hospital bills for a surgery, I simply couldn’t afford a bike, but I still wanted to ride. I looked into renting and it was more expensive than making monthly payments on a bike. Sometimes, you pay good money to rent a motorcycle two months in advance and they don’t have it when you get there! The car-sharing companies were not touching motorcycles, so I started researching what it’d take, the insurance, etc. and decided it was a good idea to offer this.
ST: How many listings do you currently have?
Guillermo: 74 as of January 31
ST: And how many rentals did you do last year?
Guillermo: Less than 50. We were focused on growing supply. In February we are going to waive the $25 screening fee and allow non-U.S. riders to use Riders Share. We also plan to run ad campaigns to do better.
ST: The people I know who own bikes are pretty protective of them, how do you help owners feel comfortable letting strangers rent their motorcycles?
Guillermo: We require at least 3 years of driving history, and only allow drivers with safe driving records (ex. no DUIs, no major violations). We verify that renters have had motorcycle licenses for at least 3 years and that they are 25 or older. All these checks help reduce accidents. In the event of an accident, all transactions in the Riders Share marketplace are covered by up to $1 million in liability protection. Finally, we have the ability to bill renters on behalf of owners should they get a ticket.
ST: There are a lot of car sharing platforms, why do you think no one else is trying the motorcycle sharing?
Guillermo: For starters, it’s a relatively small market. Car rentals in the U.S alone generate $26 billion in revenue and perhaps twice that globally. Motorcycle rentals are by comparison 0.5% to 2% of that market; it’s pocket change. Furthermore, insurance is more expensive and there are unique challenges like protective gear and helmet laws that make the market even more unattractive. It’s not a coincidence that traditional car rental companies do not offer motorcycle rentals. However, we are passionate riders and we feel like we must deal with these challenges to make riding more affordable.
ST: I know this is a project you do in your spare time right now, what’s your the long term vision for Riders Share?
Guillermo: We’d like for you to click a button and have a motorcycle in front of you within 5 minutes, at prices low enough that if you are a casual rider it makes more sense to use Riders Share than owning a bike. In particular, we are excited about what we could do with self-driving motorcycles in the future.
ST: Anything else you want to share with readers?
Guillermo: We plan to roll a bunch of updates in February that will make the rental experience even better. Check us out and list your motorcycle to make good money this summer!