This is NOT sponsored. I want to share the bike commuting possibilities so people can realize the potential, make use of these bike racks on the carshare, and ride bicycles more! If you want to support me, please use my referral link for Gig Car Share!
If you live in the Bay Area or Seattle, you may have noticed those eye-catching cars with the blue-accented bike racks on their roofs. They are part of Gig Car Share, a one-way rental car service that opens up a world of possibilities for bike commuting. With two roof mounted bike racks on every car, Gig Car Share makes it easy to combine bike commuting with car trips!
This is a website about bike commuting, but in our car-centric world, cars are still a part of the holistic transit landscape. If I’m gonna talk about cars to use, one-way carshare trips with bike racks on top are the way to go! If us bike commuters don’t use these bike racks and tell Gig how useful they are, it might not be a thing that stays on all the cars.
For those of us who prefer the convenience, happiness, and health benefits of riding bicycles around town, Gig Car Share provides a good expansion of that lifestyle. It enables you to seamlessly combine cycling with car usage for those parts of your journey that require a vehicle (or make it significantly more convenient). It’s also of course a good addition in a car-free lifestyle when you simply need a car.
Here are some compelling ways Gig Car Share can combine with riding your bicycle:
- Bicycle Freedom: When you arrive at your destination, you’ll have the flexibility to explore the area on your bicycle. Enjoy the freedom of making many stops without worrying about parking or the car.
- Time-Optimized Travel: Take advantage of one-way bike + transit trips during the day when traffic is heavy and public transportation is abundant. Then, choose to drive the car at night when public transportation is limited and traffic is lighter. This flexibility ensures you can optimize your travel based on your needs and are not limited by transit timetables.
- Relieve Last Train Anxiety: I wanted to specifically point out the reduced stress that comes from having alternate transportation available. Even if you end up making the last train or bus after all, knowing you can use Gig Car Share takes off the pressure!
- Efficient Transportation: If you need to transport large items one-way, Gig Car Share allows you to drop them off and continue your journey on your bicycle. This way, you can avoid riding alone in an empty car and enjoy the benefits of cycling.
- Easy Car Access: Say goodbye to long walks to reach a rental car. With the Gig Car Share bike racks, you can simply hop on your bike and pedal to the nearest Gig Car Share location within minutes, and then put your bike on the rack.
It’s important to note that bikeshare and scootershare systems can also be a solution for some of these scenarios, so it’s useful to look into that option as well considering the price and convenience.
Cost of Gig Car Share Trips
Usually my trips are around $10-15, and you won’t spend more than $20 for any Gig Car Share trip an hour or less. While it may be more expensive than taking transit with a bicycle, the added convenience of having a car and a bike rack can make it worthwhile. Be aware that Gig Car Share will bill you for tolls on top of the rental car cost.
Once you’re aware about this carshare system, you may also want to use Gig Car Share for longer trips as a way to replace a car in general, since it makes for easy, consistent rentals, guaranteed to have two bike racks on top to take your bikes with you! Turo & GetAround hosts sometimes offer a bike rack as well, but it sometimes comes at an extra cost and the car sharing ecosystem is much less consistent than something like Gig Car Share.
I have friends in the Bay Area who live car-free lives and love using Gig Car Share for weekend trips and such, especially since all the fuel costs are included in the price of the rental! If more people used this service it could replace general car ownership (and parking problems), since most private cars are parked most of the time, whereas Gig cars can have much higher utilization.
When utilizing Gig Car Share and bringing your personal bike along for the ride, it’s important to think about bike security as well. Fortunately, the Thule bike racks on the rental cars lock with a key (in the glovebox), so your bike should be generally secure on top of the car, but I wouldn’t trust it for long periods of time in a high theft area. Also note that the way the bike rack locks is just on the one arm of the front wheel, so if you don’t have wheel locks someone could take parts of the bike that are not secured.
If you plan to leave the bike for longer, I’d recommend taking it off the roof rack and lock it up to a pole nearby with a strong u-lock and other locking components. That’s probably a bit more secure than the bicycle roof rack, but YMMV.
Of course if you’re riding around town and bike commuting at your destination, be sure to check out my comprehensive post on bike locking and security to make sure your bike is safe as you lock it wherever you go!
How to Use the Gig Car Share Bike Racks
Fortunately, the bike racks on the cars are high quality Thule racks that lock, which makes it even more convenient that you can leave the bike on the car if needed. Note that the way the bike rack locks is just on the one arm of the front wheel, so if you don’t have wheel locks someone could take parts of the bike that are not secured.
Loading your bike on these racks is also a breeze, and Gig Car Share has a post about it with the same video above. You will, however, have to lift the bike up over your head, so make sure to take off heavy things first (like your u-lock), and if you have a step stool that could make it easier.
Be sure to watch out for bridge clearance! You’re probably fine up to 9 feet.
Officially, the Thule bike racks can only carry up to 40 pounds, which should be fine for any non-electric bicycle. If you have an e-bike, check the weight to see if it will work. Most simple e-bikes come in around 40 pounds or less, like the Ride1Up Roadster that weighs only 33 pounds!
My Experience Using Gig Car Share
I spent some time living in Oakland (after being in San Francisco for a while), and was making more frequent trips across the bay and back. Driving across the bridge is unpredictable with the traffic, and I would usually take my bicycle on BART so I had a bicycle to use while in San Francisco as well.
The one problem being if I stayed until evening or late at night when the BART train runs sparsely or not at all. The added wait time and sometimes unpleasant stations wasn’t as fun. Plus, late at night the bridge traffic is flowing so fast and smoothly, so it would be great to be able to bike + BART during the day when the bridge is crowded, but drive back with my bike late at night.
This is what I ended up doing a few times, and it greatly relieved the “last BART train anxiety” that I sometimes had while relying on only trains. Even though I usually made the last train anyway, it was nice to have Gig Car Share in my back pocket as another option to get home.
The cars were always generally easy to find and use. It’s still a bummer than San Francisco seems to only allow them to be parked at specific lots, but with my bicycle that wasn’t a big deal since I could ride there pretty quickly. Then in Oakland and the rest of east bay it’s pretty easy to park on the street in the HomeZone pretty close to where I was going! I hope San Francisco can start welcoming the car-share options more and make this even more convenient for people.
Now go forth and ride your bicycle knowing that you can extend your range with Gig Car Share and tell me how you like the bike racks!