GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg on her first Lime-E bike. (GeekWire Photo)
The phrase “it’s just like riding a bike” has never resonated with me. I know it’s supposed to mean that the task ahead will be smooth, easy and familiar, but that is not what comes to mind when I think about jumping on a bike — at least not in the city.
Lime-E bikes are distinguished with blue lightning bolts.
That’s because my cycling experience consists of the occasional ride as a kid and one week at Burning Man. So the prospect of hopping on a bike with a motor in Seattle’s busy downtown core, just after rush hour, had me more than a little apprehensive. But I am a journalist, an urbanist, and self-proclaimed new mobility advocate — and a new way to get around Seattle arrived this week.
Dockless bike-sharing service LimeBike has started rolling out electric-assist “Lime-E” bicycles in Seattle, the first market for the new additions to the LimeBike fleet. On an unseasonably sunny, brisk Tuesday, I decided to try one out. A novice cyclist, I was grateful when Jason Wilde, LimeBike’s general manager for the Northwest, offered to be my guide.
We met on the corner of Second and Spring, where Jason had an electric-assist LimeBike reserved for me. Although LimeBike is deploying the e-bikes in small batches at first — starting with 300 and extending to 500 this week — Wilde didn’t have trouble finding another one for himself nearby. The e-bikes are distinguishable in the LimeBike app because they have lightning bolts over the icons marking them on the map.
After a wobbly start (and a mental note that it’s best to adjust the bike seat before hopping on) we were off. Lime-E bikes don’t require much training, since riders don’t have to turn the electric assist feature on …read more