For North Americans on the upper Eastern Seaboard Bermuda holds the unique appeal of being about as far away by air as a drive to the cottage by car. And even though it’s almost prohibitively expensive to visit lots of people still go, and once they get there they all want scooters. Thus, as a public service, here’s kind of a pre-review of Bermuda scooter rental shops, based largely on the prospective customer’s first point of contact with the company—their website.
All About Eve
(LinLyn Lue, Eve and yours truly in June, 2003…)
I have to admit that the impetus for writing this guide was due to ongoing frustrations with Eve’s Cycles. You can forgive that their website design is about a decade behind the times, but more importantly their online reservation system does not work. For each of my past four visits to the island I’ve attempted to use it, then after hearing nothing back have had to re-reserve with a long distance call.
It’s too bad, because Eve’s had a great thing going for it—an option to pick up your bike directly at the airport. This was ideal for me for three big reasons:
- My brother’s place is about halfway between the airport and downtown Hamilton, but it’s still a hefty cab ride to get there. Getting myself in from the airport would save me about $20 USD.
- The kind folks at Eve’s would deliver my bags separately, free of charge, so I didn’t even have to consider the possibility of wearing down the wheels of my rollaway suitcase by towing it behind my scooter.
- The airport and surrounding area isn’t all that busy in terms of traffic, so I had some quality time on quiet roads to become reacquainted with driving on the left-hand side of the road.
Eve’s Scarabeo bikes are touted as the most powerful rentals available—rental bike engines are throttled by law to prevent stupid tourists from damaging anything more than their own bodies. That being said, every single Scarabeo I ever rented from Eve’s broke down on me at some point. On one trip I had to solicit the help of the only homeless guy in Hamilton, and while I was happy to put some change in his pocket for starting my bike for me the experience was obviously a bit humiliating.
The other problem with Eve’s was that getting my bags picked up and taken back to the airport was always a struggle. Part of it was probably due to the fact that I usually fly back to Toronto on a Sunday, and that Bermuda is divided into parishes should give you an idea of the level of customer service on that particular day of the week! The last time I was down there I couldn’t even get a hold of them on the day of my departure, and my brother had to follow behind me with my bags to the Fly ‘N’ Ride office, then come back there to drop off my keys the next day.
All of this is moot, however… When I called Eve’s to reserve a scooter for this coming Friday I was told that the Fly ‘N’ Ride office was closed for good. Sorry Eve, it’s the end of an era for you and me.
Spinning my Wheels
I’ve always experienced a bit of scooter envy every time I parked my ratty Eve’s Scarabeo beside a shiny, new-looking Peugeot from Wheels Cycles. Their site, however, is even more sparse than Eve’s—no option for online reservations, just an email address.
So I emailed them back in January to inquire about a March reservation, and still haven’t heard back. Time’s up, Wheels… I’m moving on.
On to Oleander
(Al Howell and I picking up a scooter for two in 2002…)
My first two scooter rentals in Bermuda were from Oleander Cycles. They have a shop in Hamilton around the corner from where my brother works, which is good because I can take a cab in from the airport and drop off my bags at his office, but bad because I have to then take my rented scooter and head straight into busy downtown traffic.
Up to now I’ve only ridden their very pedestrian Honda bikes, but this time around I’m shelling out extra for a deluxe model. So why did I decide on Oleander? Quite simple, really… I made an online reservation at their site, and within an hour or two received a confirmation email.
There may well be other shops in Bermuda that’ll rent you a scooter, but as I understand it these are the top three… So come on down to the island, just remember: Long right, short left!