Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a reservation to bike the Coastal Trail?
No. When you get here we ask questions to narrow the choices then suggest a bike which you test. Sometimes people test two or three before making their choice. Since it takes less than 3 hours for most people to bike the trail, bikes come and go throughout the day so a reservation is much ado about nothing. We never run out.
2. Do I need a reservation for a mountain bike or road bike?
No however if you want us to hold one for you we can. Click here to see the choices then email us using our online form. Include your height and weight and the date and time you will pickup and return. No deposit will be taken. We will respond with an email. When you arrive if you see another bike you you like more than the one reserved, you can switch.
3. 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 one.
OPTION ONE: 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 do that. Two airlines with this policy are Alaska and Delta. To verify this as fact, here is the link to Alaska Airlines Baggage and here is the link to Delta Airlines Baggage. These pages explain that it is $30 for your first piece of luggage and $40 for the second piece so long as the dimensions of the bike box total no more than 115 inches.
In contrast, United Airlines Baggage charges $150 each way/$300 roundtrip. Therefore, if you like the bike you currently own and are 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 than the one you already own, then consider Option Two.
OPTION TWO: 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 time to supplement your bike inventory by buying that bike in Anchorage which has no sales tax.
VARIABLE THREE: Are you on a super tight budget and don't want to bring a bike home after your visit to Alaska?
OPTION THREE: If yes, buy a used bike in Anchorage use it while you are here, then sell it before you leave. Check Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Also, you could donate the bike you buy and use in Anchorage to AWAKE (Abused Women Aid in Crisis) which needs bikes for Women and their kids who have had to flee their home in a hurry and often don't have wheels to get around.
4. 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.
5. How far is the beginning of the Coastal Trail from your store?
5 blocks. Right on E, left on 2nd.
6. 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 by taking the Chester Creek Trail past UAA, bike through 2,600 acre Bicentennial Park then climb and descend on the incredible Hillside Trails.. The best descent after climbing is on a trail called "Jeff's Whoop Whoop." Click here for a video of it..
7. Is there public transportation to Kincaid Park so I can save my 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.
8. Where should we park?
It depends on the day of the week and the time of day.
A. On weekdays and on Saturday before 4 pm park catty-corner from our store is 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."
C. On Sunday park at any street meter because it is free all day.
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. Denali Street is easy to find because 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).
9. 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.
10. Can I bring my own pedals and shoes?
There is no charge to put your pedals on one of our bikes if you're renting for more than one day.
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.
Because we're constantly swapping pedals the threads on our cranks invariably wear out and strip.
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 we have set up our bikes with spiked platform pedals that provide plenty of surface area and traction; even on the upstroke..
11. Can I drink Anchorage tap water?
Yes! Anchorage tap water is better than the Kirkland purified water we sell for $1 in the stupid plastic bottles in the refrigerator at our store. If you buy a bottled water don't crush it or throw it into our recycling bin but save it instead and keep refilling it from the tap. Over 85% of Anchorage water comes from Eklutna Lake nestled high in the mountains of Chugach State Park. The Anchorage Water and Waste Water Utility "takes its water quality and safety very seriously." Refreshingly, water that comes out of the tap in Anchorage comes out cold. Anchorage tap water is one of the best tap waters on earth.
12. 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 negotiate a price that we both agree is fair.
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..
13. Who pays if the bike gets stolen or damaged, or 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. So that we have recourse in case the 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. Everyone, even honest people, have had their bicycle stolen. By requiring renters to take responsibility for the equipment we rent them, renters are far less likely to become complacent. In contrast, if we didn't have this policy, it would cost a fortune to rent a bike, or we wouldn't have any bikes to rent at all.
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. If you can't see it you will need to borrow a U-Lock. Also remove the seat and take it indoors with you. If renting overnight, keep the bike in your hotel room or it will definitely get stolen. Treat your rental bike the same as the one you own back home and everything will be fine.
14. 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
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. What is the difference between a Fat bike and a Plus bike
On average, Fat bike tires are 26" x 4" wide, Plus bike 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 a Plus bike is faster than a Fat bike.
18. 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.)
19. What happens if I have a mechanical issue that I can't or don't know how to fix with the free repair kit?