They will be covering costs - that’s exactly what I said. I can hardly imagine they are making any profit at that cost though.
You have to service and safety check after every hire before the bike can go out again (we do at least, anyway). This involves labour, and labour costs money. As far as I’m aware, the cycle clubs don’t have in store mechanics in most instances. This means they will have to be getting the bikes serviced externally, which will involve logistsics, which costs money. Indemnity Insurance is also expensive for hire bikes. Insurance and maintenance will most likely be their biggest outlay.
Hiring bikes to make a profit is a pretty crap business model IMHO (and probably Rapha’s too), it’s a lot of hassle, for little money. Hiring bikes to get more footfall in your cycling club/cafe/store Which in turn gets people to spend money on shit that does make decent profit is a good business model, as long as the hire bikes don’t cost the business any money. Which is probably why the cost has gone up, as running a hire bike scheme at a constant loss to subsidise RCC members is not economically viable in the long run.
They’re not making more money. They’re just losing less money.