Q: When will you be open?
A: During the summer, we are open from around 8AM until around 7PM. During the Spring and Fall (Easter-Thanskgiving,) we rent bikes throughout the week and on the weekends. Though the storefront may be sometimes closed during the week, if there are bicycles outside, you can sign them out at the Refuge Inn front desk next door. [Please note that the Refuge staff can only rent bikes that have been inspected by Bike Depot staff. We are unable to pull specialty bikes from the shed, and some days the bicycles are not available due to inclement weather.] This schedule varies with weather & staffing, so we recommend calling 757-336-5511 to confirm.
Q: Do I need reservations?
A: We do not currently take reservations. Bikes are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are set on renting bicycles during your visit to Chincoteague, we recommend renting them daily. You can lock the bikes in the racks behind our shop if you like, or bike to your house or hotel. Our staff typically has a pretty good idea of when we may run out of bikes, so feel free to call us at 757-336-5511 (ask for the Bike Depot) the morning or evening before coming to rent. The only time you may want to call ahead is if you’re looking to rent specialty bikes in the off-season, as their availability may vary and we can check with the bike shop staff and get back to you.
Q: Are the mosquitoes really THAT bad?
A: Sometimes. During the summer and early fall, if it has rained a lot in the past 4-5 days, you can expect a healthy mosquito population on both Chincoteague and Assateague. During the early Spring and late fall, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. We recommend taking a can of Ben’s Outdoor Spray with you, just in-case (for sale inside.) Burt’s Bees makes an all-natural bug spray, if you prefer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! We also sell Afterbite, for those who get unexpectedly swarmed.
Q: Why don’t you offer training wheels?
A: Our insurance company advised against it. Sorry 🙁 We recommend a tag-a-long for children who haven’t learned to ride a bike, and we have adult tricycles for adults who don’t feel comfortable on a two-wheeler.
Q: Why don’t you offer those four-seater bicycles with canopies?
A: These quadcycles are VERY difficult to pedal. Since the gear is so low and the frame is so heavy, you work twice as hard than you would on a regular cycle or tandem. It’s nearly impossible to get them up and over the bridge to Assateague. We tried these once, and most of our customers came back dissatisfied, so we decided not to rent them anymore.
Q: Do I need to pay to go to Assateague?
A: Not on a bicycle! The hiking and biking path bypasses the toll booth–yippee! If you go in a car, you can purchase a daily, weekly, or yearly pass.
Q: Can I bike to the beach?
A: Absolutely. The beach is about a three-mile ride on paved paths from our location. We kindly ask that you do NOT ride bicycles on the sand itself– the sand here is very soft, so you’ll probably fall over. Additionally, sand and salt are very bad for the crank & chain, and can cause the crank to jam or chain to snap unexpectedly.
Q: What happens if my bike breaks down?
A: Though uncommon, this does happen from time to time, especially if you’re pedaling or braking suddenly. Call us and we’ll bring you a new one! We do ask that you walk in the general direction of the road, so we can get the bike to you ASAP.
Q: Can you repair my personal bike?
A: Unfortunately, our insurance company has advised against helping visitors with personal bicycles. We’re very sorry and wish we could help! We do have some basic parts for sale inside, including inner tubes.
Q: Is it safe to bike on the roads on Chincoteague?
A: Like many things, it is just about as safe as you make it. If you wear a helmet, observe traffic rules, and are aware of your surroundings, biking here is safer than most places.
Q: Who owns the ponies next to the Bike Depot?
A: The Chincoteague Pony Farm. Don Leonard, who founded the Refuge Motor Inn in 1973, has owned ponies since he was a little boy in the 1930s. It was only natural for him to include ponies as part of his hotel! His sons and grandsons keep up the herd these days. If you have questions about the ponies, visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter.