Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a reservation to bike the Coastal Trail?
We do not take reservations for two or less days. A reservation to bike the coastal trail is not necessary because we have more than 150 bikes of all types and sizes. We will have a bike in your size when you get here because it takes most people about 3 hours round-trip to ride the Coastal Trail. Even on sunny days after a major morning rush we always still have bikes available to rent because we simply upgrade you to a more expensive bike.
Selecting a bike in advance is a guess. Selecting a bike when you get here is closely tailored to your needs. After you arrive we will ask a few questions and then suggest a bike for you to test and then you decide whether to rent it. If there's doubt, test another.
Electric bikes: We currently have 28 electric bikes in our fleet. Click here tor photos and specs of each one. If it is a sunny day e-bikes come and go throughout the day. When an ebike returns (usually after 3 hours of use), we swap out its battery so it's ready to go again. It's rare but we sometimes don't have an e-bike available in the size that you want. When that happens, we will still have plenty of non electric bikes to rent. Alternatively you could wait for an electric bike in your size to return. We have large tumble mats for stretching and a complimentary bench press. There is also an extensive exhibit on the 1964 Earthquake in our common area. (It is on some city tours.) If after considering this you still really want/need a reservation for an ebike, we recommend the E-bike store. Click here for their website.
Unique Bikes: If you want a very unique bike (like a carbon fiber road bike), although we do not take hourly/daily reservations for them, such bikes are not in high demand so it will likely be here when you are ready to ride. If however you want to reserve one for three or more days we will do that.
2. Do you take reservations for multi-day rentals.
Yes. If you need a bike (or car bike rack) for three 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 (ballpark) you will pickup and return. There is no deposit and you can cancel. When you get here thoroughly test the bike to confirm you like it and verify that everything works. If there is another bike that you're interested in you can test that one too and switch to it if you like it more.
Not taking a deposit or charging for cancelling is a good thing. Unforseen events come up ending trips planned months earlier. For example, in July 2023 we had a customer who reserved two bikes 10 months previous. She really wanted to make a deposit and followed-up with emails reiterating her intent to rent and wish to prepay. A week before her trip was about to begin she got injured while riding her own bike back home forcing cancellation of her Alaska trip. Charging someone when something outside of their control occurs adds insult to injury; that's why we don't take deposits or mind if you cancel multi-day reservations last minute. All we ask is that you let us know your plans have changed.
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 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 it for you until you leave we charge $3 per day.
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.
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 you're thinking of buying a second bike of a different type, then Option B might be the best choice.
Option B: Buy a bike in Anchorage, use it while you're here and then fly home with it as luggage. You'll avoid the cost of renting and end up with the bike you've been thinking of buying and using back home anyway. Your trip to Alaska could be the tipping point to owning a second bike.
Anhorage has no sales tax and bike prices are competitive. We sell Fuji, Breezer, Surly, and Hurley. There are many other bike shops in Anchorage that sell other brands so it would be prudent to do some research and compare. If you do decide to buy from us we could confirm it is available to order and have it here when you arrive. (50 percent deposit to order.)
Alternatively, check Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and buy a used bike.
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.
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?
Five 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 at Far North Bicentennial Park and on the Hillside. To get there from our store take the Chester Creek Trail to Goose Lake, ride throughUAA.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).
7. I only want to bike the Coastal Trail one way from the other end to downtown so is there a way to transport the bike to Kincaid Park?
Public transportation will take you and the bike 2/3 of the way to Kincaid Park for $2 on the number 40 People Mover bus. 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 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).
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. (See FAQ 5.)
10. 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. Over the years we've accommodated riders who insist on using their own pedals even when the threads aren't cooperating and then later when they're riding the threads strip which aborts their ride, forces us to rescue them and order a new crank.
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.
11. 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 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.)
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 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.
13. 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. Bikes rented by honest people are sometimes stolen by someone else. Because the renter is responsible for absorbing the loss (just as they are with their own bike back home) they have strong motivation to not only keep it locked, but to never let it out of their sight. Locks are free with your rental. We will offer a thick coil lock if you will always be able to see the bike and u-locks if you won't be able to see it. Remove the seat and carry it with you when the bike is not in sight because seats with quick releases get stolen too. If you're renting overnight, even if you have a u-lock, keep the bike in your hotel room. Thieves need time and privacy to cut a u-lock. In sum, treat your rental bike as the one you own back home and everything will be fine.
14. 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.
15. 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 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
16. 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
17. Does Anchorage have public transportation; is it convenient and how much does it cost?
Anchorage's "People Mover" bus system is very convenient and costs $2. On most routes run every 15 minutes and on weekends most routes run every 30 minutes. Click here for People Mover routes and schedules.
18. 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?
Take the Route 40 People Mover bus downtown. It costs $2. On weekdays it runs every 15 minutes. On weekends every 30 minutes. It picks up outside baggage claim on the eastern edge (mountain side) of baggage claim. It will take you to the downtown transit center which is located only six blocks from our store.
19. 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.)
20. What happens if I have a mechanical issue that I can't or don't know how to fix with the free repair kit?
Call the bike rental and we'll figure out the best way to help.
21. What should I wear?
Layers with a wind breaker or rain jacket. In summer be sure to wear or bring shorts. Even if the day starts out cool, it often gets hot (really) and so do cyclists when they ride. Sweatpants are better than pants or jeans. If you do wear pants, we will offer you a rubber band to mitigate the risk of grease stains from the chain.
22. Are there any restrooms or places to buy food on the Coastal Trail?
No. There is a port-a-potty at Westchester Lagoon 1.5 miles from downtown and a bathroom at the Kincaid Park Chalet at the end of the trail. If you want to eat on your ride without bringing food then return on the Alternate Return Route. The attributes and drawbacks of the ARR along with detailed directions are provided with map and briefing when you're set up with bikes prior to leaving our store.
23. 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.
24. During winter do I need a reservation for a studded tire Fat, Plus, or Electric bike?
On weekdays they're always available. On weekends a reservation might be necessary. To reserve email your height and weight using this online form. There is no deposit and you can cancel.