After a dramatic year for bike share operators in Sydney, a new player has entered the game with a fleet of modern electric-assist bikes.
Brightly painted bikes from US-based operator Lime were quietly installed in various locations in Sydney seemingly overnight, with several pods spotted on Oxford and Elizabeth streets.
Lime e-bikes seem to have landed in Australia with this pod in Sydney. pic.twitter.com/rDoKBdZ2tA
— Luke Hopewell (@lukehopewell) November 7, 2018
Cool to see these Lime ebikes hit Sydney this morning. Bring the e-scooters! pic.twitter.com/mdo6F96QX8
— Brian Smith (@smithcorptweet) November 7, 2018
The company claims the bikes, dubbed the Lime-E electric-assist bike, have a lithium battery capable of pushing the bike to speeds of up to 14.8 mph (23.8 km/h), even when riding uphill.
In contrast to a fully electric bike, the Lime-E simply assists by automatically engaging its motor as soon as the rider starts pedalling.
Lime works similarly to other bike sharing services: using an app available on iOS and Android, you book your ride and use GPS to track it down. Once you find your Lime-E, simply scan the QR code on its rear to unlock it for use.
Strangely, the company hasn’t made any formal announcement of its arrival in Sydney. The app asked to verify my account by sending a text message, which didn’t arrive. If you encounter the same issue, try logging in through Facebook instead.
Once you open the app, you’ll see a map displaying the location of Lime-E bikes in your area. At this stage, they’re localised to inner-city areas like Surry Hills, Haymarket, Ultimo, Darlinghurst and the CBD.
Most Australians will be familiar with the fiasco that was the bike-sharing boom of early 2018, which saw the colourful bikes discarded on roads, indoors, in trees and even in rivers.
Indeed, one Twitter user predicts Lime is certain to meet a similar fate:
I can't wait for them to go the way of the last batch pic.twitter.com/OzvB016edM
— Alex (@a_sharples) November 7, 2018
Lead image: Zac Zavos