A Gowanus motorcycle rental company dubbed Jupiter’s Motorcycles started up in May and is angling to be casual bikers’ answer to Zipcar, offering daylong jaunts on borrowed rides to members who pay a monthly fee. The service is meant to give Brooklynites who are unwilling to shoulder the costs and hassles of full-time motorcycle ownership a chance to get some wind in their hair, its founder said.
“Motorcycling is seasonal and under-utilized as it is and we want to give customers the chance to get out and ride once in a while,” said Jupiter honcho Chris Miles.
The company has a fleet of 14 motorcycles spread between four sites, including the Gowanus garage, a lot in Williamsburg, and two lots in Manhattan. Miles hopes to eventually expand within New York and into other cities, he said.
Memberships cost $49 per month, plus $49 per day spent high on the hog.
A variety of motor bikes are on offer, giving members options for all kinds of riding. For instance, the Bavarian Motor Works 1200RT is well-suited for long-distance hauls, but tooling around the city might be more fun on a classic Triumph Bonneville.
The niche market Jupiter’s serves is former motorcycle owners who gave up the open road as the demands of domestic life mounted.
“I have two young kids now and it is hard for me to justify buying a motorcycle and keeping it at home when we have other responsibilities,” said customer Michael Iacovella, a Park Slope resident. “But sometimes I like to have a day to clear my mind and go for a ride.”
Miles recognizes that newbie riders hitting Brooklyn’s mean streets on rented wheels could be a recipe for disaster, so he requires members to have three years and 3,000 miles of riding experience and forces them to take a driving test and put down a $2,500 deposit before cutting them loose.
The outfit also offers training for unsteady bikers to find their balance.
“We want to make sure everyone is comfortable before they get on those bikes,” Miles said.
Jupiter’s Motorcycles [119 Eighth St., Ste. 100 between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 788–2585, www.jupitersmc.com]. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 9 am–6 pm. Friday–Sunday 9 am–7 pm.
Full story at Brooklyn Paper