Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a reservation for a studded tire Fat, Plus, or Electric bike this winter?
Probably not but if you want to reserve one email your choice using this online form. Include your height and weight and the date and time you will pickup and return and we will reply. There is no deposit and you can cancel. If you want to check availability or reserve within the next week you could also text 907-250-1170.
2. What is the difference between a Fat bike and a Plus bike
Tire width. Most fat bike tires are 26" x 4" while plus tires are 27-5" x 3" wide. Regular mountain bikes during summer are about 2" wide. A Plus bike is an all season bike. It is in between a regular mountain bike and a Fat bike. During winter, when the trails are packed down and it is cold plus bikes are faster than fat bikes because they have less rolling resistance. If biking in unpacked, new or soft snow fat bikes are the better choice.
3. Do I need a reservation to bike the Coastal Trail next summer?
No. Because we have more than 150 bikes of all types and it takes most people less than 3 hours round-trip to cycle the Coastal Trail we always have bikes available to rent. Even if a miracle occurred and a bike for your height in the price range you want isn't here we would simply upgrade you to a more expensive bike at no extra charge. Also, knowing in advance which bike you will most prefer would be a guess. When you arrive we will ask you questions about your biking abilities and needs and suggest a choice for you to test and then you decide whether you want to rent it or try another. Long story short, reserving a bike for a few hours is much ado about nothing. It also needlessly commits customers into going at a certain time. Since the weather and travelers schedules are always changing walking in whenever you want works better for both of us.
We have a good supply of electric bikes that also come and go throughout the day. We swap out their batteries after they return. It is rare, but we sometimes run out of electric bikes. If when you get here we don't have an electric bike that will fit you we will refer you to two other nearby rental shops with electric bikes. Between the three of us you will be able to bike the Coastal Trail with an electric bike whenever you want. This works out better because then you don't have to make a non-refundable deposit on something the weather and your schedule (and covid) might short-circuit.
4. Do you take reservations for multi-day rentals.
Yes. If you need a bike (or car bike rack) for two or more days, click here to see the choices then email your pick with our online form. Include your height and weight and the date and time you will pickup and return. There is no deposit and you can cancel. When you get here you will thoroughly test the bike to verify whether the advance choice is the best one but because there will be other bikes available you can test those and if you want switch.
5. I will be in Anchorage for more than one week. Should I rent, buy a bike there, or bring my own bike?
You should probably bring your own bike. Your decision depends on three variables.
VARIABLE ONE: Do you like the bike you currently own? If yes then depending on which airline you're flying on, consider option A.
Option A: If you like the bike you currently own and the airline you are flying on charges the same to check a bicycle box as it does any other piece of luggage, then fly with your bike to Alaska. Two airlines with this policy are Alaska and Delta. Here are links to verify this policy: Alaska Airlines Baggage and Delta Airlines Baggage. On these two airlines it is $30 for your first piece of luggage (including bike boxes) and $40 for the second piece so long as the dimensions of the bike box total no more than 115 inches. (If you are bringing your own bike to Anchorage and want us to store the box you transported it in until you are ready to box it up and fly home with it, we we charge $5 per day for the first week, $3 per day for the second week, and $1 per day thereafter.)
In contrast United charges $150 each way/$300 round-trip. United Airlines Baggage. So if you're flying on United it is cheaper to rent. (Note there is currently an error on the United baggage page stating that the bike box must be less than 62 linear inches but it is impossible to fit a bike into such a small box. Also this statement conflicts with what is stated in the next paragraph on the page and with United's voice recording about bike box dimensions which accurately explains that the bike box must be no more than 115 linear inches.)
If you are flying on another airline, check with them to see what they charge.
VARIABLE TWO: If you do not currently own a bike, or if you dislike the bike you currently own, or are you thinking of buying a bike that is different type of bike (mountain or road) than the one you already own, then consider Option B.
Option B: Buy a bike in Anchorage, use it while you're here and then fly home with it and pay the regular baggage fee only one way. If you already own one type of bike (ie road), but have been thinking of buying another type of bike (ie mountain), now is the tipping point which makes that decision easy. Since Anchorage has no sales tax buying a bike here might be cheaper than where you're from. If you're open open to buying a used bike, check Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
VARIABLE THREE: You're on a tight budget or don't want to bring a bike home after leaving Alaska.
Option C: Buy a used bike in Anchorage use it while you are here, then sell it before you leave. Check Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You could also buy a department store bike (Walmart) for about $200 and although it won't perform, last, or re-sell for as much as name-brand bike, it's a cheap way to have wheels over the weeks or months you're here. It's unlikely a cheap bike used for many weeks will be worth the trouble to box up and take home and it will sell for a lot less than what you paid for it so another option is to donate it to charity. AWAKE (Abused Women Aid in Crisis) is always in need of bikes for women and their kids who have left their house in a hurry but still need wheels to get around.
6. How long does it take to ride the 11-mile long Coastal Trail?
On average it takes two and a half hours round-trip at a leisurely pace to cycle the Coastal Trail. It's 22 miles round-trip. About 1.5 hours to bike out and one hour to bike back. Riders return faster because outbound there are two hills to tackle. One is in the middle of the trail near Earthquake Park. It's not too steep but it's about one mile long. The second hill is short and steep and at the very end of the trail. People who turn around at the bottom of the second hill see almost the entire trail. If you decide to ride up the hill at the end, you have the option of returning on the Alternate Return Route. The Alternate Route adds 3 miles to the return trip. Click here for Anchorage bike map.
7. How far is the beginning of the Coastal Trail from your store?
Five blocks. Right on E, left on 2nd.
8. Where is nearby mountain biking?
At the end of the Coastal Trail is 1,500 acre Kincaid Park. Kincaid has more than 30 miles of roller-coaster trails. Click here for Kincaid Park Trail Map. To see a video of Kincaid's "Bolling Alley, trail, click here.
Another place to mountain bike is at Far North Bicentennial Park and on the Hillside. To get there from our store take the Chester Creek Trail to Goose Lake, ride through UAA. From there bike on bike-friendly Elmore Road then take a left on Abbott Road to the Hilltop ski area. Here is a link to the Hillside Trails. The best descent after climbing is on a trail called "Jeff's Whoop Whoop." Click here for a video of it.
Another way to get to the Hillside Trails is to take the Flattop Mountain Shuttle to the Glen Alps trailhead (elevation 2200 feet) for $16 one way (includes $2 state park tax) and then bike back to our store (sea level).
9. Is there public transportation to Kincaid Park so I can save energy for mountain biking or so I can bike the Coastal Trail only in one direction?
Put the bike on the front of the number 40 People Mover bus for $2 and cut 5 miles off your ride. On weekdays the #40 leaves downtown every 15 minutes. On weekends it departs every 30 minutes. Get off the bus at its last Spenard Road stop before it turns on International Airport Road. Then, ride the bike six miles into Kincaid Park where the Coastal Trail ends.
The bus station is at 6th and G; only 5 blocks from our store. Click Here for the Number 40 Bus Route.
10. Where should I park?
It depends on the day of the week and the time of day. Here are the options.
A. On weekdays and on Saturday before 4 pm, park catty-corner from our store in the "Easy Park" orange-trimmed five-story parking garage. It takes up an entire city block between 4th and 5th Avenue and B and C Street. The first hour is free and it costs $1.25 per hour thereafter.
B. On weekdays after 4 pm, park at any street meter and pay for two hours. Meters are free after 6 pm.
C. On Saturday park at any street meter east of A Street because they're free and there is no "chalking." (Two hour time limit even though it is free.)
D. On weekdays if you want to park for free and don't mind walking five or six blocks. park on the eastern edge of downtown anywhere past Denali Street (The first letter of each name of the street east of A Street corresponds with the sequence in the alphabet: Barrow, Cordova, Denali, Eagle, Fairbanks . . . etc.)
E. On Sunday park at any street meter because it is free and there is no time limit (chalking).
11. Can I exchange the bike I rented for a different type later in the day/week?
Yes. Exchange one type of bike for another type at any time. If you want to go mountain biking in the morning and road biking in the afternoon, no problem. This policy sometimes tips the balance between renting for two weeks, buying a bike in Anchorage, or bringing your own bike from home. (See FAQ 5.)
12. Can I bring my own pedals and shoes?
if you're renting for more than one day there is no charge to put your pedals on one of our bikes
If you're renting for one day or less there is a $4 charge for us to take our pedals off, put your pedals on, take your pedals off when you're done riding, then put our pedals back on again.
If when installing your pedal it "fights" the threads on the bike you've selected we won't be able to install your pedals. Sometimes people question us about this so when we're doing the swap if the threads don't cooperate we'll hand the pedal wrench to you and ask you if you'd force the pedal on your bike's crank. Because some rental bikes have their pedals swapped a lot our threads get worn down. If a pedal is forced onto a crank and strips its threads neither of us will be happy.
Instead of bringing your own pedals and shoes, you can rent them (SPD) from us for $4. If renting for more than one day there is no charge to use our clip-in pedals and shoes.
If renting for one day or less and you want to bring your own SPD shoe and clip into our SPD pedal, the cost is $2.
To minimize pedal swaps our bikes we use platform pedals (similar to this one) that provide plenty of surface area, traction and upstroke grip.
13. Can I drink Anchorage tap water?
Yes! Over 85% of Anchorage water comes from Eklutna Lake about 20 miles northeast of downtown in the mountains of Chugach State Park. The Anchorage Water and Waste Water Utility "takes its water quality and safety very seriously." When it comes out of the tap our water is cold. Anchorage tap water is one of the best tap waters on earth. It is even better than than the bottled water we sell for $1 in the stupid plastic bottles from the refrigerator at our store. If you buy a bottled water, after drinking it, don't crush or throw away the bottle. Instead save it and keep refilling it from the tap. We have a drinking fountain in our mall. (We also have a recycling bin.)
14. Can I store luggage at your store?
Yes. During your rental period or until the end of the day after your ride, you can store whatever you want here at our store for no charge. It will be safe and we will take responsibility for it.
If you need to store something at our store for a number of days before or after your rental, depending on what you're storing, we will either store it for free or charge a nominal price. Traveling is a step out of one's comfort zone; we're in a position to minimize the hassle so we do what we can to help.
15. Who pays if the bike gets stolen or damaged?
Renter assumes the same risk and responsibility they have when they ride their own bike back home. Renters must sign a Bike Rental Agreement/Liability Waiver/Contract. So that we have recourse in case a bike is stolen or damaged, a credit card (not a debit card) is required. A business that rents bikes is trusting not only an unknown person but that person's unknown judgment. Even honest person can have their bike stolen. By requiring that you take responsibility for the bike you rent you're less likely to take a chance with it. If it were any other way renters who had their bike stolen would simply come back and say "so sorry but the bike I rented got stolen, see you later."
Bike theft in Anchorage is rampant. We have stories of thieves who cut locks in broad daylight and refuse to stop unless confronted by superior force. If you lock up a rental bike, lock it where you can see it. Locks are free with your bike rental. We have different types of locks depending on whether or not you will be able to see the bike while it is locked. If you go into a store or you're eating somewhere and can't see your locked bike from your table then it is at risk. If you can't see your locked bike ask for a u-lock. Also remove the seat and take it indoors with you because thieves steal seats. If you're renting overnight, keep the bike in your hotel room because even with a u-lock it will almost certainly be stolen. Thieves need time and privacy to cut a u-lock. In sum, treat your rental bike the same like the one you own back home and everything will be fine.
16. What if I get hurt or hurt someone else when riding a rental bike?
Renter assumes the same risk and responsibility they have when they ride their own bike back home. Renters must sign a Bike Rental Agreement/Liability Waiver/Contract. Riding a bike (like many other outdoor activities) is an inherently dangerous activity so crashes sometimes occur. Helmets are free with your rental. If you don't have medical insurance, even if you're not renting a bike, buying traveler's insurance makes sense. It is not expensive and buys you peace of mind. You're in an unfamiliar area outside of your regular routine. Expect the unexpected.
With safety in mind, before renting, it is in our mutual interest that you first thoroughly test ride a potential bike and verify it is working properly and safe. We keep records of our maintenance and ask returning renters how bikes performed. That said, outgoing renters are our last line of defense. What seems fine to a returning renter might not meet the expectations of an outgoing renter. If after your test ride something isn't quite right we will either remedy the observation or suggest another bike to test. Safety is our highest priority.
17. Do I need a guide?
No guide is needed to cycle the coastal trail. Just keep the ocean on your right on the way out, and on your left on the way back.
Some people decide to bike back on the Alternate Return Route. If you choose it, dovetail our detailed directions with the the highlighted route on provided map.
A direction sheet and properly marked-up map makes it easy to bike anywhere in Anchorage.
We're also versed on where to ride out of town
18. Can I bike to Flattop Mountain?
Yes. We will provide you with a direction sheet and map so you can safely bike a scenic route from downtown (sea level) to the Glen Alps trailhead (2200 feet) in Chugach State Park. Depending on how fit you are it takes between one and two hours. If you rent an ebike it will take one hour.. Click here for the trailhead webcam.
19. We arrive at the airport and would like to rent a bike during a long layover. How much does it cost to travel between the airport and your store?
Anchorage's bus service is called the People Mover. It costs $2 each time you ride the bus. You can also buy a one day pass for $5. Every 15 minutes Route 40 travels between the airport outside of baggage claim to the downtown transit center which is located only six blocks from our store.
20. What happens if I don't borrow a repair kit and I get a flat?
Call us. Depending on where you are on the trail, we will figure out what is the most reasonable way to solve this problem. While flats are rare, they sometimes occur.
- Wait to receive repair kit from an outgoing renter and fix flat
- If there are enough employees working at the store, wait for one of us to race out on a bike and fix it
- Ask for help from a good samaritan with a repair kit
- Walk bike to bus stop and take bus back downtown
- Call cab. (DBR not responsible for cab fare.)