The facts hurt, and that is probably why the manager has worked so hard to try to discredit a review site that post unbiased reviews. If anyone who was there (there were two people other than my wife and I) would like to dispute the actual facts instead of throwing around insults, I would like to see it.
Below is my honest experience with their shop.
Do not rent from Big Wheel Bikes - that is unless you actually enjoy being harassed, threatened and berated while paying an enormous amount for a rag tag yard sale rental bike that was probably purchased from a police auction. My wife and I rented two bikes from this store last weekend. We picked this store for two reasons, the web site looked professional and this location was close to our hotel. The ensuing experience is one I would not recommend to anyone. There are MAJOR problems here beginning with their rental fleet. Their website prior to our rental would leave one to believe that they have a nice rental fleet with plenty of choices. Wrong - we arrived before they opened and watched as they rolled out numerous bikes that had seen their better days. They were dirty, poorly maintained (we had to ask them to put air in the tires) and in general, looked more like stolen yard sale bikes than a rental fleet.
Their website mentions daily, weekly and monthly rentals with a fee for keeping the bikes overnight if you wish. After we picked out the cream of their disparate fleet we began asking about overnight fees, as we wanted to keep them for a couple of days. The salesman was ignoring us and failed to ask us when we would be returning them or how long we expected to keep them. Nor did he instruct us to return them that evening (or anytime). The salesman wanted to keep my wife's drivers license as a deposit. I suggested a credit card instead. When we pulled out our cards, the salesman said, "That one's fine." We both informed him that particular card was a gift card and not really a credit card. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "That's okay." By the way, it's worth noting that with an overnight fee included, one of their “fine” (sarc) bikes will set you back $45 for a 24 hour period.
It seemed that no instruction or information was being offered. Instead it was left up to us to ask about trail locations, and any details that we might need to know. No flat kit or lock was offered or available.
48 hours later, I turned on my phone (I was on vacation) to find 10 messages. They ranged from "Please return the bikes" to "We've called the police. What kind of people are you, stealing our bikes?" and the "The manager just charged me $800 and I can't afford it man!"
While I don't like being threatened with a warrant for my arrest, I called the store employee who had left his cell number in his message (the store had not opened yet). I explained to him that we had not stolen the bikes.
On our way to return the bikes, I decided that I was going to voice my opinion about the lack of service on their part, the threats that were directed at us, and the general failure of their employee to fill out a proper rental agreement.
While I thought they would apologize for the misunderstanding and perhaps give us a discount or something on the bikes, what my wife and I received was immediate defensiveness, verbal abuse and threats. They had reported us to the Police as well. I agreed with the manager that our rental looked shady on paper, but the blame should be solely on the employee who took the reservation, failed to ask about the rental period and knowingly hand selected a gift card as a form of deposit and failed to inform the manager of his error. While the manager agreed (I think) the personal attacks kept coming. The manager is filled with impudence and disrespect for his customers. He fails to realize that it's people like me who, for reasons of convenience, spend $180 renting two crappy bikes for two days, keeping him employed.
I did find other rental choices. Just north of Old Town at a marina off of the Mount Vernon Trail is a place that rents nice, newer, clean and well maintained GT hybrids for $22 a day. In retrospect, I wish I would have bought a couple of $150 department store bikes and a patch kit and left them with our friends in DC. Or better yet, perhaps I should start my own rental fleet with them, right across the street of Big Wheel Bikes in Old Town.