Not many will look back on the COVID-19 pandemic and see a silver lining, but Zach Wagner does.
The pandemic provided the 20-year-old Catheys Valley resident with an idea for a bike rental delivery business — California Quests — that came to fruition last fall.
“I’d been working on it for a few years,” said Wagner, who said he’d noticed that the bikes available to rent in Yosemite National Park were not in the best shape. “During COVID, I wondered what would be a good way to get people high-quality bikes without physical contact. California Quests was created so tourists and locals alike could have a bike delivered straight to their door without any contact.”
Here’s how it works: Visit CaliforniaQuests.com to order a bike. Right now, the company has a fleet of 10 premium mountain bikes — six adult bikes, two for teens and two for kids. Additionally, you can rent racks to haul the bikes to your destinations — more than likely that’s Yosemite National Park.
Adult bikes can be rented for $100 per day. After the third day, that rate drops to $80 per day for the remainder of the rental contract. Youth bikes start out at $75 per day, dropping to $60 after the third day, and kids’ bikes start out at $45 per day, dropping to $36. Racks can be rented for $15 flat rate, and helmets are always free.
If you live in the specified delivery radius — within 10 miles of Mariposa — California Quests will deliver the bikes/racks/helmets to your door at no charge. If you live within 20 miles of Mariposa (10 miles beyond the radius), you can have your bikes delivered for a fee of $30. If you live still farther away, California Quests will arrange a meeting point within the boundaries where you can pick up your equipment.
Business is picking up with the warmer weather.
“It was a little slow at the start because people don’t usually bike in the cold,” said Wagner. “It started picking up in the spring, and then summer a good bit more. But with traffic so unbelievably bad right now, biking would be the quickest way into the park.”
Before starting California Quests, Wagner worked for his parents, Jerry and Courtney Wagner, doing groundskeeping for their three Airbnb properties — Midpines House, Black Bear Lodge, and Main Street Boarding House — all near Mariposa.
“Now that things have picked up this summer, I’m looking at adding a bike every two weeks, eventually adding a new bike every week,” said Wagner. “The thing I’m most excited about is getting electric bikes in future. For now, the most positive feedback I’m getting is about the contactless delivery. It’s really popular. People wanted contactless during the pandemic for health reasons, now it’s all about the convenience.”
In addition to increasing the size of the fleet, Wagner has designs on expanding California Quests’ realm of operations to other regions of the state and, perhaps, the nation.
“Who knows?” said Wagner. “We might have to call it ‘Outside-California Quests.”