I rode an electric LimeBike around downtown Seattle — and up a hill — and lived to tell the tale

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 or off. The motor is always running, increasing and decreasing the amount of electric assistance it provides based on how fast the rider is peddling. If you peddle more slowly, it turns up the electric assist.

I learned that counter-intuitive lesson when we climbed our first hill. We made a loop through Pike Place Market and approached the hill that we needed to climb to return to LimeBike’s Seattle headquarters at the WeWork co-working space.

Jason Wilde, LimeBike’s Seattle general manager, gives a demo of the new Lime-E. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Wilde informed me that the slower I pedaled, the more …read more

Source:: GeekWire

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