Calgary’s downtown core is seeing green as LimeBike, a bicycle-sharing service based in San Francisco, officially hit the pavement with 375 bikes on Oct. 30.
Scott Harvey, Lime's operations manager for Calgary, says he’s excited Lime finally rolled out in Calgary, the first Canadian city using the electric pedal-assist bicycles.
“The Calgary transportation department has really led the way in the bike infrastructure that you see throughout the city,” says Harvey. “They really wanted to work with a company that could bring a great product that could easily integrate with the world-class infrastructure that they’ve built … it was a no-brainer for us.”
Calgary Journal editors rented one of the electric bikes, spending US$1 to unlock and 30 cents per minute to ride. Touching the pedal activates the 250-watt motor, which results in a faster ride than what one might expect. Unlike many ride-share programs, the Lime bikes are dockless, which makes for quick pick-up and drop-off. Riders are also responsible for bringing their own helmets, a requirement for motorized cycling.
Harvey says during the first phase of the project, the company is focused on placing bikes in smaller, key areas so that residents can enjoy and test the product.
“During the winter months, we’re in a much smaller ridership area, which is downtown Calgary,” says Harvey. “To the west is 14th Street and Kensington, to the north is the community of Bridgeland, to the east is the East Village and Inglewood, and to the south is 17th Avenue.”
Although winter riding is limited, Harvey explains that by April, the green e-bikes will likely be seen throughout the rest of the city.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that the bikes cost 15 cents per minute to rent.
- By Alec Warkentin, Nathan Kunz, Colin Macgillivray & Amber McLinden