Airbnb Guests Support Small Businesses in Harlem

“Harlem is the largest neighborhood in Manhattan. so the best way to see it all is on a bicycle.”

Maxine has called Harlem home for over seven years and in that time she’s fallen in love with the deep sense of community, the amazing arts scene, and the beautiful tree-lined streets that are perfect for afternoon bike rides. 

She’s also an avid traveler who’s used Airbnb to explore cities like Madrid, Spain and Cartagena, Colombia. In each place she visits, Maxine takes bike tours to help see the communities through the eyes of a local.

When she returned from her last trip, she realized that travelers coming up to Harlem didn’t have good way to experience the neighborhood on two wheels. Maxine mulled over the idea of starting her own tour, and was given the affirmation she needed when her business plan won a competition held by the Harlem Business Alliance. I Bike Harlem was born.

“People from around the world love the culture, the history and the food that Harlem has to offer.”

I Bike Harlem offers 4-hour “bike and bite” tours through the streets of Harlem. Along the ride, travelers peddle by the landmark homes on Strivers Row, cruise through the historic paths of Marcus Garvey Park, one of Manhattan’s oldest public spaces, and stop to take pictures at the world-famous Apollo Theatre.

Biking can work up an appetite, so Maxine makes sure the people on her tour don't leave hungry. As part of the experience, they stop for an authentic soul food buffet at Jacob Restaurant, and end the tour at Make My Cake, for what Maxine says is the “most delicious dessert in Harlem.”

On many of her tours, Maxine finds out that she has something in common with her guests - they’re using Airbnb to explore a new city too. 

“I think Airbnb is awesome for our neighborhood because it’s bringing more travelers here. And when they stay here, they shop here, they eat here, they go to events up here. Plus, I’ve definitely had more and more travelers signing up to take my bike tours that are staying with Airbnb hosts in the neighborhood.” 

In fact, Airbnb guests keep 42 percent of their spending in the neighborhood where they stay — and that’s a big boost for local businesses like I Bike Harlem. 

“Airbnb hosts in the area bring more revenue to Harlem. The boost from the guests spending at our businesses helps make our community a more fun and diverse place to live and visit. Airbnb really benefits everyone in the community.”