Opposite the Westin hotel on West Bay Road, a couple unloads groceries and beach towels from the basket of a distinctive green-and-white bicycle. They had taken a long ride up to Barkers Beach, stopped for lunch at Macabuca and picked up a few necessities on the way home.
They lock the bike up next to a handful of similarly styled cycles on a stand at Regatta Park, plug in a few details on a smart phone app and they are done.
Cycle Cayman, a start-up bike-share business that puts an island twist on services like New York’s Citi Bike, is making it easier for tourists to get around without renting a car.
The business has 25 bikes across four locations in George Town, Camana Bay and along West Bay Road.
For now it is primarily used by tourists. But entrepreneur Daniel Powery, who set up the business with his aunt Darla Dilbert, hopes it will become popular with residents, too.
The business is starting slowly. Around 500 rides have been clocked in the first eight months – 80% of them from tourists.
Both Powery and Dilbert have other careers. But they believe there will be a snowball effect as more locations open up throughout Grand Cayman.
“The model is multi-location,” said Powery. “The more locations you have, the more use you see.”
Though safety on the roads is a concern for some, he says that has not been an issue for tourists.
“We have had people go out as far as Spotts Beach,” he said.
The idea is simple. Pick up a bike at one of four locations. At each site there are instructions to download the app, book and unlock the cycle, and pay for the rental.
The bikes can be returned at any of the four locations.
Dilbert said she had used similar services in the US.
“Across the world this is a proven concept. I used it in New York and I thought this is what we need; we just need it to be island friendly,” she said.
She partnered with her tech-savvy nephew and Cycle Cayman was born.
Dilbert believes there is space for entrepreneurs to help deal with traffic congestion and other transport issues in Cayman.
She says government could incentivise such businesses rather than having to provide the services themselves.
For Powery, the best thing government could do is make cycling safer across the island.
“For us, we want more bike lanes. If they could deal with that, that would be great.”
The Dart group, which tested a similar concept in Camana Bay, has provided support as well as locations for the business in its early stages.
Dilbert believes Cayman’s growth and the influx of tourists and foreign workers who are used to riding bikes, means cycling could become a much more widely used transport option in Cayman.
She believes Cayman Cycles can help make that happen.
“We needed something that was affordable and gives people an option to go from A to B without a car. It is healthy. You’re exercising. You’re getting fresh air and you are seeing the island.”
Cost US$7.99 for one hour.
More info: cyclecayman.com