Review: What’s it like riding a LimeBike in South Lake Tahoe?
July 23, 2017
Making your way around town recently, you might have noticed a surge of brightly colored, lime green bicycles popping up on sidewalks and at bike racks.
The bikes are part of Bay Area-based company, LimeBike, and are one of the South Shore's latest efforts at combining sustainability, technology and recreation. The 200 bikes were officially launched for use on July 15 and the cost is $1 for 30 minutes of use. As an incentive to get the app, the first ride is free.
I had been seeing several of the bikes around the Tribune office at 3079 Harrison Blvd., so I thought I would give one a go.
The first thing you should know is that you must download the LimeBike app and register an account so you can unlock the bikes for riding.
Being that my iPhone is reaching antique status, I couldn't download the LimBike app, but luckily several of my coworkers have the app and let me use their phone. All you have to do is open the app, scan a bike's QR code to unlock, and then you're on your way.
To return the bike, just find a bike hub or another suitable area to leave it, then lock the bike by sliding down the red tab that sits just above the back tire.
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It may not be the case with other locations, but when the map of available bikes popped up, I saw that there were several within just a few hundred feet of the office. I grabbed one of two that were located by Mountain Lab's parking lot.
Mountain Lab operates as a "hub" for the bikes, as indicated on the app. There are other South Lake locations that are designated as hubs for picking up and dropping off the bikes.
The first thing I noticed was that, even though the bikes don't have gears, pedaling wasn't that strenuous — at least not while on flat pavement. I was able to pedal with ease and avoid the stand-up pedal maneuver.
The bikes do have more of a design for cruising, so that's going to be your best option. You can gain a significant amount of speed if desired, but I stuck mostly to the bike paths off of Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Most of those will have a speed limit of 20 mph so be mindful of pedestrians and other cyclists.
The bikes are equipped with road tires, which are much more thin than mountain bike tires, and the suspension is rigid so there isn't much for shock absorption. This is something to keep in mind if you're off of the bike path. I hit a few side roads by our office and the cracks and potholes were a little jarring.
Within the 1 mile radius I stuck with, I saw a total of seven bikes without using the map, and three were occupied. The good thing about the bikes, aside from being much cheaper than a traditional rental, is that there should be enough for residents and tourists alike to use.
"We came into town a little earlier and saw them laying all around," said Trevin Clay, of Denver. "We thought they were interesting so we went over and read all of the stuff on them and decided riding them was our best bet to get around because we didn't want to keep walking. It's been pretty easy and smooth riding so far."
The bikes also feature a basket up front for carrying any extra items you may have on hand and there's a bell on the handlebars if you need to make your presence known to others in your path.
Overall the experience was great, but riders have to realize they aren't hopping on a bike meant for extreme riding, so taking it easy and respecting the fact that you are, essentially, borrowing a bike should be kept in mind.